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Anderton says NZ must stay engaged with Fiji

Hon Jim Anderton

Minister of Agriculture, Minister for Biosecurity, Minister of Fisheries, Minister of Forestry
Associate Minister of Health,
Associate Minister for Tertiary Education,
Minister Responsible for Public Trust

Progressive Leader

06 December 2006 Press release

Anderton says NZ must stay engaged with Fiji

Jim Anderton, the Minister of Agriculture, today expressed concern for the people of Fiji, as the political situation there worsens.

"New Zealand must try and find a way to stay usefully engaged with Fiji. It is a country still paying the price for the two coups it has already had, one 20 years ago and another in 2000."

The Minister said that New Zealand should try to find ways to encourage non-violent approaches and a return to democracy as soon as possible. "In the end, the issues are about the processes by which governments and people debate issues and make changes. Fiji has lost a great deal by not being able to manage those processes without military intervention."

Mr Anderton said those two coups encouraged the idea that unconstitutional and sometimes violent action is acceptable as a way of achieving political objectives. "That creates an extremely dangerous climate, and New Zealand should not 'reward' those involved in this kind of unconstitutional behaviour by rapidly normalizing official relationships. There should be on-going costs for those responsible that last a very long time."

He added that New Zealand has long been a friend with Fiji. "This is a time for closer engagement, not abandonment  we have friends all over the Pacific and we need to work closely with them," Jim Anderton said.


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