4 Apr 2006

Fiji welcomes appointment of Anand Satynand as next New Zealand governor general

7:28 pm on 4 April 2006

There's been a widespread welcome in Fiji for the appointment of a son of ethnic Fiji Indian parents as the new governor general of New Zealand.

New Zealand prime minister, Helen Clark, has appointed Judge Anand Satyanand, who also served two terms as the country's Ombudsman, to succeed Dame Silvia Cartwright when her term ends in August.

A senior former National Federation Party MP and president of a major Hindu religious organisation, Harish Sharma, says Fiji stands to learn a lot from the appointment because it shows that important positions in democratic countries are based on merit and not on race.

Radio Fiji quotes Mr Sharma as saying countries like Fiji should emulate the example set by the New Zealand prime minister and stop playing the race card for political gain.

The Fiji Labour Party leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, says the appointment is a great honour for Fiji.

The president of the Fiji Retailers Association, Himmat Lodhia, says the appointment of a son of Fiji as the governor general of New Zealand is a victory for Fiji that the whole country should be proud of.