26 Dec 2008

Call for Maori minister to talk with Fiji

9:17 am on 26 December 2008

A call has been made for Maori Affairs Minister, Pita Sharples, to be included in talks with the interim government of Fiji.

The chairman of the Fiji Club of New Zealand says Dr Sharples may have a better chance of engaging with the interim prime minister, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, because he understands cultural issues.

Alton Shameem's suggestion follows the expulsion of the acting High Commissioners from both countries.

In Australia, the director of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, Anthony Bergin, said a policy rethink is needed and Fiji should not be forced to hold an election next March.

The Pacific Islands Forum meeting next month is expected to determine a response to Fiji breaking its promise to hold elections next year.