16 Jan 2007

Samoa diplomat defends Australia's involvement in bill

2:31 pm on 16 January 2007

The Australian High Commissioner in Samoa has broken his silence over the proposed Police Powers Bill.

There have been claims that the bill, which could see some local police armed and allow armed foreign intervention in Samoa, is being driven by Australia.

Samoa's parliament has postponed the passing of the bill to review controversial provisions of the legislation.

Australia's High Commissioner in Apia, Phillip Allars, told local media that neither Australia or New Zealand were behind the move.

Mr Allars told the Sunday Samoan Newspaper that Samoa was no longer sheltered from the impact of trans-national crime and the bill was a response to new challenges in policing.

The local umbrella of non-governmental organisations and the national council of churches have opposed aspects of the bill.