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NZ Must Keep Pressure On Fiji

The New Zealand Government must keep the pressure on the illegal Fiji administration to ensure the announced planned elections for August this year does actually go ahead and in an environment free of intimidation and corruption, says United Future leader, Hon Peter Dunne.

"This is probably the last chance for Fiji to get their act together and provide long term stability and certainty for both indigenous and Indo-Fijians. It is therefore important that the elections take place in an environment of openness and integrity.

"An international team of observers sanctioned by the United Nations should certainly be in place to monitor the elections to ensure fairness and faith in the outcome. New Zealand would do well to promote this idea.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs is right in saying a preferable option would be to have reconvened the Parliament elected in May 1999. Given this has not happened, then it is crucial the New Zealand Government keeps the pressure on Fiji and takes the strongest stance against any welching on the commitment to an early and fair election.

He says, New Zealand remains in a unique position to influence the return to democracy and human rights in Fiji through polices of encouragement or sanction.

"Only if Fiji's important neighbours remain staunch can Fiji's return to democracy be given the best chance. We owe nothing less to the people of Fiji who are looking to their friends and neighbours to uphold their rights to freedom, dignity and racial equality," concludes Mr Dunne.


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