30 Mar 2011

Free 2014 Fiji elections needed to end NZ travel sanctions

11:00 am on 30 March 2011

The New Zealand foreign minister Murray McCully says travel bans against Fiji will only be lifted if the interim government commits to free and fair elections in 2014.

The regime in Suva has said elections will go ahead but ruled out the return to power of politicians who the military ousted in the 2006 coup.

Mr McCully says New Zealand is prepared to ease restrictions, if the Fiji interim government can give assurances that all stakeholders are allowed to contest the polls.

He says, however, the threshhold is now higher because the interim regime reneged on an earlier promise to yield power to an elected government.

"There needs to be enough in it for Forum countries to be convinced that this time there were indeed going to be elections and those would be elections in which all stakeholders would be be able to participate and not only those favoured by the regime."

Murray McCully.

Meanwhile the permanent secretary in Commodore Bainimarama's office, Colonel Pio Tikoduadua, has told Auckland's Radio Tarana that the interim Government has committed to elections in 2014 and is making progress in its preparations.

They are looking for these more commitments, we are moving there. We have our own roadmap to follow, we are talking to people and we are making a lot of good ground with people we don't normally talk to. We are committed to that. We are looking at a whole inclusive process when we are looking at Fiji's future. All we need is a little bit of support you know. If everyone can play and come and watch rugby I am sure things are going to be quite alright in the Pacific.

Colonel Pio Tikoduadua.