17 Oct 2006

New Zealand prime minister says Fiji military leader's comments inappropriate

7:19 pm on 17 October 2006

The Prime Minister Helen Clark says threats from the military regime in Fiji against the government are inappropriate and are the last thing the country needs.

The Fiji Times newspaper quotes military commander Commodore Frank Bainimarama as saying the government has three weeks to withdraw contentious legislation, which could forgive the perpetrators of Fiji's 2000 coup.

It comes a week before regional leaders meet in Fiji for the Pacific Islands Forum.

The commodore says the army will walk into the Prime Minister's office and demand his resignation, if that's what the people want.

Miss Clark says there is no excuse for threatening a democratically elected government.

"In my view nothing that is happening in the legislative process in Fiji justifies military intervention. There is a lot of debate about that bill. We are working constructively to try and support Fiji through the issues - a lot of political debate in Fiji and that is where the issue should rest, not with the military."

Helen Clark says the New Zealand government will be keeping a close eye on events in Fiji, and she expects the issue to be raised at the Pacific Islands Forum.