Parliament

Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 

Goff Voices Concerns Over Fiji & Zimbabwe


Hon Phil Goff
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Media Statement

GOFF VOICES CONCERNS OVER FIJI & ZIMBABWE TO COMMONWEALTH WATCHDOG


Foreign Affairs Minister Phil Goff has expressed New Zealand's concern about events in Fiji and Zimbabwe to the Commonwealth's watchdog on democracy, the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG).

Mr Goff has written to Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Secretariat Don McKinnon on the eve of CMAG's latest meeting in London.

"I have told Mr McKinnon that New Zealand is disappointed that the opportunity to immediately return Fiji to a constitutional and democratic government has been lost and with it the chance of a government of national unity which may have been able to help reconcile differences within the community.

"New Zealand is concerned that the former interim administration declared illegal by the Court of Appeal has effectively been legitimised and appointed as a caretaker government. The most constitutional approach would have been the reconvening of Parliament and letting it decide who should govern until elections are held.

"The path chosen by President Iloilo appears to only give lip service to the Court of Appeal ruling and at best is on the outer edges of constitutionality.

"I have told Mr McKinnon that New Zealand is not yet ready to lift sanctions against Fiji. Suspension of the sanctions will need to await clear evidence of early elections and an unequivocal commitment by the caretaker government to a democratic outcome at the ballot box.



"I hope that CMAG is able to send a clear message expressing concerns about the doubtful constitutionality of the caretaker government. The Commonwealth should emphasise that Fiji's return to full membership of the Commonwealth will depend on its successful return to a constitutional democracy," Mr Goff said.

The Minister has also expressed to Mr McKinnon his concerns about the situation in Zimbabwe.

Mr Goff supported CMAG's concerns already expressed over ongoing violence, loss of life, illegal occupations of property, failure to uphold the rule of law and political intimidation in the run-up to Zimbabwe's parliamentary elections.

"There have been further reasons for profound disquiet in recent months. Reported human rights abuses include serious threats to Opposition MPs, apparent tolerance of violence, murder, intimidation, and a growing climate of fear.

"I am concerned by reports of interference with the independence of the judiciary and the reticence of law enforcement authorities to investigate or act upon intimidation directed at citizens who are not supportive of the regime.

"The independence of the press has also been compromised by the failure to protect newspapers which dare to be critical of the government while there has been the expulsion of British and South African journalists.

"CMAG should call for an immediate end to these abuses. New Zealand supports the early dispatch by the Commonwealth Secretariat of a fact-finding team to Zimbabwe. CMAG should then meet to review its finding and formulate the next steps for Commonwealth action. This might include assistance to Zimbabwe to move away from the disastrous political and economic course which it is following or sanctions such as suspension from the Commonwealth if it does not," Mr Goff said.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Sir Michael Cullen’s Tax Reform

To ordinary wage and salary earners who (a) watch a slice of their gross income being taxed every week via PAYE and who also (b) pay GST on every single thing they buy, there has been something quite surreal about the centre-right’s angry and anguished reactions to the Tax Working Group’s final report... More>>

 
 

89 Cents An Hour: Govt Plans Fix For Minimum Wage For People With Disabilities

IHC is delighted that the Government is looking into replacing the Minimum Wage Exemption (MWE) with a wage supplement to ensure people with disabilities are paid at least the minimum wage. More>>

ALSO:

Te Waihanga: New Independent Commission To Tackle Infrastructure Issues

The New Zealand Infrastructure Commission – Te Waihanga – will be established as an Autonomous Crown Entity to carry out two broad functions – strategy and planning and procurement and delivery support. More>>

ALSO:

Auckland Action Against Poverty: Motels Profit From Housing Crisis

A single motel which charges up to $1,500 per week per room has received over $3 million worth of Government funds to provide emergency assistance, despite never having a Code Compliance Certificate – an offence under the Building Act – and receiving a series of longstanding complaints from occupants... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Alleged China Relations Crisis

If New Zealand’s relations with China are ‘deteriorating’ then you still need a microscope to detect the signs... More>>

ALSO:

Environment: Government To End Tenure Review

“Tenure review has resulted in parcels of land being added to the conservation estate, but it has also resulted in more intensive farming and subdivision on the 353,000 ha of land which has been freeholded. This contributed to major landscape change and loss of habitat for native plants and animals,” said Eugenie Sage. More>>

ALSO:

Bell Tolls: Big Changes, Grand Mergers Planned For Vocational Training

“At a time when we’re facing critical skill shortages, too many of our polytechnics and institutes of technology are going broke... More>>

ALSO:

Sallies' State Of The Nation: Progress Stalled In Reducing Inequality

The report shows a lack of tangible progress in key areas including record levels of household debt and a growing gap in educational achievement between poorer and more well off communities. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels