9 Apr 2009

New Zealand PM expects Fiji regime to ignore Forum election deadline

3:37 pm on 9 April 2009

New Zealand's Prime Minister John Key has conceded that the interim government in Fiji has no intention of meeting a deadline set by the Pacific Islands Forum to set an election date.

The forum has set a deadline of May the 1st for the interim regime to announce that an election will be held before the end of the year.

But Mr Key says he believes the interim leader Frank Bainimarama is "there for the long haul" and is going to resist any genuine attempts to restore democracy.

He says the regime which came to power in the 2006 military coup is delivering the country a passport to poverty, and there is little more Australia and New Zealand can do.

Fiji faces partial suspension from the Pacific Islands Forum if it does not meet the election deadline.