15 Jul 2011

Former Fiji regime member Vayeshnoi in NZ visa bid

3:15 pm on 15 July 2011

The New Zealand foreign minister, Murray McCully, says he cannot discuss reports that a former member of the Fiji interim governent, Lekh Ram Vayeshnoi, is seeking to enter New Zealand.

While being aware of the reports, Mr McCully says he is not in a position to discuss any individual case but confirms that there have been several visa applications from former regime members and senior civil servants.

He says each case is dealt with on merit.

"All I can say is that I'm familiar with the case because there has been some public discussion in relation to it. It relates to a person who was in the regime as I understand it and therefore there may some questions around the sanctions that we need to answer and I would of course only communicate with the minister of immigration about such a matter after I had advice from the ministry of foreign affairs."

Last month, New Zealand granted a visa to a former senior Fiji military officer, Lieutenant Colonel Tevita Mara, who is wanted in Fiji for skipping bail after being charged with sedition.