20 Apr 2009

NZ opposition leader calls for UK and UN to stop employing Fiji soldiers

8:00 pm on 20 April 2009

The New Zealand Opposition leader, and former minister of foreign affairs and defence, Phil Goff, says pressure has to go on Britain and the United Nations to stop employing soldiers from Fiji.

Mr Goff told Radio New Zealand's The Panel that when in government he had unsuccessfully called for a ban on the use of Fiji's soldiers by Britain's armed forces and as UN peacekeepers.

But he says given the latest developments more pressure has to be applied.

"It's absolutely inappropriate to have Fijian peacekeepers trying to bring good governance in other countries in the world when the Fiji has overthrown democratic governance in Fiji. If the UN made that decision to send the Fijian peacekeepers home immediately that would impact very seriously on the military."

Mr Goff says the same applies to the about 2000 Fiji personnel in the British military.

New Zealand's Foreign Minister Murray McCully says his Government is considering tougher sanctions on Fiji but to ensure the ordinary people of Fiji are not hurt, it wants to avoid applying them to trade and tourism.