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New Zealand Election Observers to Fiji

Rt Hon Winston Peters
Minister of Foreign Affairs

01 May 2006

New Zealand Election Observers to Fiji

New Zealand will send ten election observers to Fiji as part of a regional observer mission for this month’s elections, Foreign Minister Winston Peters said today.

The New Zealand team, invited to observe by Fiji’s Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase, will join others from Australia and Pacific Island countries in a team led by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat. The European Union and Commonwealth Secretariat are also contributing observer teams.

“Ensuring that all people from all areas have their say in a free and fair environment is the key to any election process,” Mr Peters said.

National elections will be held in Fiji from 6-13 May. The polls are open for seven days because of complexities associated with Fiji’s four-roll alternative vote electoral system, and to allow access for voters in remote areas.

“New Zealand supports a fair and transparent election process in Fiji and is contributing NZ$5.44 million to an overall package of support provided by New Zealand and Australia.

“This funding is contributing towards a programme of technical support and training to the Fiji Elections Office,” said Mr Peters.

Two MPs, Hon Marian Hobbs and Doug Woolerton, are members of the New Zealand team, which also includes academics and representatives from government agencies and non-government organisations.

ENDS

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