31 Oct 2006

New Zealand defence minister concerned over situation in Fiji

5:02 pm on 31 October 2006

New Zealand's defence minister, Phil Goff, says he's concerned over the row between Fiji's military commander, and the government.

Commodore Frank Bainimarama and the Police Commissioner Andrew Hughes are also locked in a disagreement as police withhold a shipment of ammunition over national security fears.

Mr Goff says in normal circumstances, the defence force would receive the ammunition.

"We see a situation where the Commander of the Fiji military forces is still threatening to remove from office the elected Prime Minister. In New Zealand in the defence force there is a very clear and strong convention that the military does not interfere in civil life and that the military is subordinate to the authority of the elected government."

Mr Goff says in any country with the Westminster or democratic tradition, the place of the military is not to try to dictate to elected politicians the policies that they should be carrying out.