11 Jun 2011

Group opposes Fiji officer's plan to visit NZ

8:45 am on 11 June 2011

An Auckland-based Fiji pro-democracy group says the former Fiji military commander seeking to visit New Zealand should not be allowed entry.

Lieutenant-Colonel Ratu Tevita Mara escaped to Tonga last month after being charged with sedition.

Colonel Marra arrived in Australia on Thursday and wants to come to New Zealand to talk to supporters and, if he can, meet with government officials.

But Nik Naidu of the Coalition for Democracy in Fiji told Morning Report on Thursday he understood why Colonel Mara had suddenly "seen the light", saying he was one of the worst types of officer in Fiji.

Mr Naidu says his group will send a letter to the New Zealand Government opposing any visit by Colonel Mara to New Zealand.

Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully told Morning Report Colonel Mara is on a list of people banned from entering this country and would have to be either removed or exempted from from the list.