19 Apr 2009

NZ foreign policy seen as "undermining" Fiji's progress towards democracy

11:01 am on 19 April 2009

A senior Waikato University lecturer says the New Zealand Government's foreign policy towards Fiji may be undermining that country's progress towards democracy.

Foreign Minister Murray McCully has described the situation in Fiji as unpredictable and volatile. Fiji's president revoked the constitution and sacked the judiciary after the Court of Appeal ruled the regime in power since a military coup in 2006 was illegal.

However, David Neilson, a member of the Commission of Inquiry into Fiji's 2006 election, says New Zealand could be doing more to create a robust electoral system for Fiji.

On the Sunday Group, Mr Neilson said there were many technical issues to overcome in order for Fiji to remove "bias and corruption" in its electoral system.

He said New Zealand has a huge amount of expertise which could help Fiji create a robust electoral system.