2 Apr 2004

Fiji Labour Party denies contribution to government land lease bills

10:17 am on 2 April 2004

The Fiji Labour Party has rejected comments made by the prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, on the government's proposed land lease bills to be tabled in parliament this month.

Mr Qarase was reported to have told jounalists in Auckland on Wednesday that the Fiji Labour Party had reacted positively to the bills.

He was also reported to have said that the Labour leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, had contributed significantly to the bills during the "talanoa" talks and was confident they would be passed.

But Mr Chaudhry says the bills were not even tabled during the talks.

Mr Chaudhry says it is disturbing that the prime minister should be making such statements when his own attorney general said this week that the bills were drafted without consultation with the Labour Party .

Mr Chaudhry says the prime misiter has seriously jeopardised future "talanoa" talks.