29 Oct 2014

Fiji MPs in NZ to observe Parliament

5:55 am on 29 October 2014

A delegation of Fijian MPs is in New Zealand to school up on Parliamentary procedures after going years without democracy.

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The delegation will spend three days in New Zealand. Photo: RNZI Koroi Hawkins

The visit is the Parliamentarians' first since Fiji's general election on 17 September, eight years after a military coup.

Deputy Speaker Ruveni Nadalo and whips from the Government and Opposition are here for three days to observe how Parliament operates.

Deputy whip Sankit Patel said as new MPs, they have much to learn.

Murray McCully.

Murray McCully. Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

"What we are trying to find out is how well we can coordinate and work together as a whole unit ... and the good thing is we are now learning how well and how effective we can run our country."

Mr Nadalo said already the visit has demonstrated how all three parties in Fiji will have to work together.

"We really need to get on together - that's what we have been realising. We've been sitting together every afternoon, every evening and thrashing things out amongst ourselves ... we find it's really helpful."

New Zealand's Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully said Fiji has the country's full support.

"You can't have no Parliament and no parliamentary institutions for many years without some rebuilding to do, and we're very keen to play our part."

Mr McCully said there are now no obstacles to resuming business as usual between the Pacific nations.

New Zealand lifted all its travel sanctions and any remaining restrictions against Fiji in March this year. All that remains is to appoint a full High Commissioner to replace the current acting Head of Mission.

"That's something that's being discussed at the moment," Mr McCully said. "They made it clear that it was something they wanted to pick up after the election. We've now started that conversation so hopefully there will be something to report quite soon."

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