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New Zealand support for Fiji elections

30 September 2005

New Zealand support for Fiji elections

New Zealand is committing NZ$5.3 million towards supporting the 2006 general election in Fiji, Aid Minister Marian Hobbs announced today.

"A fair, reliable and transparent electoral system is essential to any country and I am very happy that we can support one of our closest Pacific neighbours with their upcoming election and those to be held in the future," Marian Hobbs said.

"Through NZAID, our international aid and development agency, we will contribute $5.3 million to an overall package of support being provided by New Zealand and Australia. The New Zealand funding will go towards a programme of technical support, including training, to the Elections Office during the coming year.

"This initiative follows discussions with the Fiji Elections Office over the preceding 18 months. The Government of Fiji has confirmed contributions of F$10million of its own resources in 2005 and a minimum of F$15million in 2006.

"Letting all people, from all areas, have their say in a free and fair environment is the key to any election process and this funding is a good example of how New Zealand and Australia can combine their resources to support a Pacific country achieve a very positive outcome for its people.

"Although the 2006 election is the focus of this assistance, we want to ensure that future elections are run successfully and both Australia and New Zealand have committed to on-going work with the Electoral Office to ensure an accurate and reliable voter registration system."

High Commissioner to Fiji, Michael Green, will sign a tripartite arrangement on behalf of the New Zealand government at a ceremony in Suva today. Australian Foreign Minister Hon Alexander Downer and Fijian Minister of Foreign Affairs Hon Kaliopate Tavola will also attend and sign the agreement.

ENDS


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