11 May 2007

Fiji's Chaudhry urges re-think of Australian and NZ policy

1:44 pm on 11 May 2007

Fiji's interim finance minister has called on Australia and New Zealand to take their blinkers off, understand the country's situation and help in rebuilding its economy.

Mahendra Chaudhry has told Radio Legend the two countries should not just base their sanctions against Fiji on a return to democracy as there are many issues to be addressed before Fiji goes to the polls.

Mr Chaudhry says Australia and New Zealand need to understand how Fiji has been governed under the Qarase administration and that the people of Fiji are in many ways glad to have got rid of it.

He says as traditional allies Australia and New Zealand should have drawn attention to the kind of bad governance Fiji had in the last six years but they did not raise a voice against it.

Mr Chaudhry says if they want to back a government which was racist, which had rampant corruption and which served the interest of the elite and ignored the poor, then Fiji would be better off without their advice or help.

Mr Chaudhry says the interim administration will just have to carry on doing what it has to do to address the very fundamental problems facing the country.