24 Aug 2012

New Zealand opposition warns Fiji that re-engagement works both ways

1:53 pm on 24 August 2012

The foreign affairs spokesperson for New Zealand's opposition Labour party says Fiji's re-engagement with the Pacific Islands Forum needs to go both ways.

Fiji's interim leader Commodore Frank Bainimarama says the Forum, from which Fiji is suspended, has used its influence to bar Fiji from participation in other international groups.

He has told Pacific leaders gathered in Nadi ahead of next week's Forum leaders' summit, that Fiji will dine at the table and is not content to pick at crumbs once decisions are made.

The Labour Party's Phil Goff says the question that will be asked next week is if the 2014 elections will be free and fair.

"I think we have to engage with Fiji. We have to promote and encourage it to do the right thing by its people. Respect their human rights, respect the right to free speech, to have an independent judiciary and a free media. So engagement is important, but we need to be very careful that all the movement is not simply from the side of the Forum, and there is no reciprocation from within Fiji itself."

Phil Goff says Fiji needs to be aware that if its promises aren't delivered on, there are consequences.