9 Jun 2011

NZ's McCully says decision on Mara entering NZ will be known in a few days

8:59 am on 9 June 2011

New Zealand's Foreign Minister says it will be several days before a decision will be made on whether a former Fiji military commander will be allowed to enter New Zealand.

Lieutenant Colonel Ratu Tevita Uluilakeba Mara escaped to Tonga after being charged with sedition in Fiji and has applied for a travel visa to New Zealand.

The Foreign Minister, Murray McCully, says Colonel Mara is on a list of people banned from entering this country but he could receive an exemption.

"To come into New Zealand he will have to be removed from that list or receive an exemption, that's a matter for the Minister of Immigration acting on my advice, will go through the normal process here, we are not going to put any impediments and in Mr Mara's way, but then we are not going to especially fast track this application either."

Murray McCully says if Colonel Mara is granted a visa, then it is likely Foreign Affairs officials will seek a meeting with him.