18 Nov 2015

Fiji government urged to accept NZ police help

8:36 pm on 18 November 2015

Fiji's opposition leader Ro Teimumu Kepa has urged the government to take up an offer from New Zealand to help with the transition to a new police commissioner.

Fiji Police Commissioner Ben Groenewald appointed in May 2014

Fiji Police Commissioner Ben Groenewald Photo: RNZI/ Sally Round

After last week's sudden resignation of Ben Groenewald, Fiji's prime minister immediately chose a military commander as acting police commissioner.

The New Zealand prime minister, John Key, said New Zealand could help as he hated for Fiji to start moving away from democracy and the pillars of independence.

Ro Teimumu says she is pleased that New Zealand had now realised that Fiji's democracy has stalled as Fiji still lacks the democratic benefits of full independence of the media, parliament, the public service, police, the judiciary and other institutions necessary for any democracy.

She says 12 months on from Fiji's first elections in eight years, debate is being stifled, and intimidation of civil servants is openly practised by the prime minister and the attorney-general.

Mr Groenewald cited military interference in policing as one reason for his departure.