7 Apr 2010

NZ opposition watches situation regarding Vanuatu coroner closely

10:01 pm on 7 April 2010

New Zealand's opposition Labour Party says it understands why the government is tightlipped after a New Zealand judge left Vanuatu following threats.

Justice Nevin Dawson, who has been acting as coroner in Vanuatu, returned to New Zealand this week as officials investigate threats against him and his family.

He had been living under tight security since he released a report last month as coroner, criticising the Vanuatu police force's paramilitary unit.

New Zealand's foreign minister, Murray McCully, is yet to comment on Justice Dawson's departure from Vanuatu.

Labour's foreign affairs spokesman, Chris Carter, says he's not surprised.

"I think Mr McCully is probably watching to see what happens. I don't criticise him for that. It's a sensitive issue and it's a New Zealander involved. I guess Mr McCully and I are both aware that the situation in Vanuatu is a little bit unstable."

Chris Carter says he's watching the situation in Vanuatu carefully.