8 Jul 2009

Key denies claims Samoa Head of State unhappy with NZ approach on Fiji

8:09 pm on 8 July 2009

New Zealand's prime Minister has denied claims that Samoa's Head of State expressed displeasure at the way Wellington is handling the Fiji situation.

John Key drank kava while paying a visit to Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi, in Apia, on the second leg of the Prime Minister's Pacific goodwill tour.

Tui Atua Tupua reportedly conveyed to My Key his deep concerns that the current approach to Fiji by New Zealand and Australia was harming Fiji's residents.

Mr Key defended the Forum's suspension of Fiji, saying he stands by the decisions made by Forum leaders in Port Moresby earlier this year.

He says he has seen no indication that other Pacific leaders, including the Samoa Head of State, want to veer away from that.

"No, I mean his main point was really just that he is concerned everyday Fijians are being hurt by this process and he'd obviously love to see it resolved. And in that regard, I reiterated the position that I say everywhere, which is that New Zealand wants to help Fiji on its pathway to democracy as soon as it possibly can."

John Key's four-day Pacific tour takes in Tonga, Samoa, Niue and the Cook Islands, focusing on the impact of the economic crisis and swine flu on the small countries.