2 Jul 2007

New Zealand extends sanctions against those involved with Fiji's military regime

8:18 pm on 2 July 2007

The New Zealand government has revealed the tighter sanctions it will apply against Fiji's interim government in the wake of the expulsion of high commissioner Michael Green.

Prime Minister Helen Clark says the tougher sanctions are the significant response that the expulsion of Mr Green demanded.

She says this includes reduced access for Fiji government officials to their New Zealand counterparts.

There is already a travel ban on members of the military and coup supporters and their immediate family members, but this will now be extended.

"We have agreed that that visa ban will extend to permanent secretaries of Fiji government departments and it will also extend to include all persons who have been appointed by the interim government to boards of statutory authorities and public enterprises. This will be a ban from entry to New Zealand and a transit visa ban as well."

An Australian based Indo-Fijian academic, Brij Lal, says the restrictions imposed by New Zealand on Fijians connected to the interim government are having an effect.

A number of people in Fiji, competent people, are not joining the interim administration or accepting offers of positions because they fear that their travels will be curtailed. It is stopping people from Australia and New Zealand from accepting positions in the interim administration. so it is frustrating a lot of people.