25 May 2011

NZ not ruling out letting Fiji's Mara into country

11:27 am on 25 May 2011

New Zealand is not ruling out letting one of the main 2006 Fiji coup leaders into the country.

Colonel Ratu Tevita Uluilakeba Mara fled to Tonga last week while on bail in sedition case.

Fiji's government is seeking to have the former senior Fiji army officer extradited from Tonga.

New Zealand's Prime Minister John Key says that so far there has been no approach on the matter from Colonel Mara.

But despite the New Zealand ban on entry by members of Fiji's regime and their families, Mr Key has indicated that Colonel Mara may be exempted.

"The way that we assess whether someone is able to come or not to New Zealand is subject to whether they are supporting the regime and that means they are either a family member or they were directly involved in the coup. Now by definition at the moment Tevitas Mara is not. That doesn't mean he has a right to come to New Zealand but that's something MFAT is looking at."

New Zealand's Prime Minister John Key.