2 Aug 2013

Analyst says time right for NZ to change approach on Fiji

8:11 am on 2 August 2013

A geopolitical analyst says the time is right for New Zealand to change its stance on Fiji after comments from Australia's opposition.

The opposition coalition's foreign affairs spokesperson, Julie Bishop, said this week that a new government would normalise relations with Fiji.

Both Australia and New Zealand placed travel sanctions on the Fiji coup makers and they remain in place.

Julie Bishop says she would like to see the full restoration of diplomatic relations and Fiji welcomed back into the Pacific Islands Forum and the Commonwealth.

36th Parallel's Paul Buchanan says the most obvious sign that the policy hasn't worked is that the United Nations has welcomed Fijian peacekeepers in greater numbers since the 2006 coup, in defiance of requests from Australia and New Zealand that they not be used.

"The sanctions regime has not worked and the National government needs to admit that to itself, then admit it to its partners and finally admit it to the Fijians and from that, start anew with an approach that recognises Fijian sovereignty, recognises that the type of governance in Fiji is not ideal from our point of view but we need to engage them nevertheless."

Paul Buchanan.