14 Jun 2007

New Zealand government warns Fiji of consequences after expulsion of High Commissioner

4:09 pm on 14 June 2007

The New Zealand government is warning Fiji there will be serious consequences to face after the interim regime expelled the High Commissioner, Michael Green.

New Zealand's Foreign Minister, Winston Peters, called the action deplorable and says he will now review all aspects of the bilateral relationship after Mr Green was declared persona non grata.

Mr Peters says he has not received an explanation from Fiji for its completely unjustifiable decision, and that there would be strong reactions from not only New Zealand but also other countries.

But, he's ruled out New Zealand expelling Fiji's High Commissioner in response, saying they won't duplicate the behaviour of the regime.

Mr Peters says there are a number of options open.

"We could extend the visa ban, we could look at interim government personnel, investments and money offshore where we're concerned. We are not powerless in this matter and we'll look at every option we've got."

Mr Peters says New Zealand will look again at the aid programme but they don't want to harm the Fijian people because of the actions of the regime.

The Foreign Minister says Mr Green is likely to leave Fiji soon, possibly by the 18th.