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www.mccully.co.nz - 08 December 2006

www.mccully.co.nz - 08 December 2006

A Weekly Report from the Keyboard of Murray McCully MP for East Coast Bays

Sanctions Against the Fiji Coup

An array of sanctions were unveiled against Fiji this week as the creeping coup unfolded. Some were significant and meaningful: the restrictions against senior military personnel and their families visiting New Zealand, for example. Others were more symbolic.

The suspension of New Zealand financial assistance to the Fiji Electoral Commission is unlikely to register a crippling blow in a nation suffering a small deficit in democracy at the present time.

Suspension from the Commonwealth appears inevitable - the decision merely awaiting the requisite Ministerial meetings. Suspending sporting contact is an essential part of the mix. The Netball World Cup, programmed in Fiji next year, will need to be moved. The Wellington leg of the Rugby 7s is more problematical given the contractual arrangements with the IRB. But individuals associated with the army should be banned. And steps taken to explore cutting Fiji from the tournament if that is feasible.

One large substantive issue must be addressed with urgency. The United Nations must now make a rapid decision to send home the Fijian personnel serving in peacekeeping roles around the world, notably in the Middle East. The UN deployments are a substantial source of both prestige and cash for the Fiji military. They should be deprived of both forthwith. UN peacekeeping deployments are no place for members of a rogue military force.

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Fiji is but one of several major challenges to order and stability in the Pacific. But the removal at the point of a gun of a democratically elected government, which won a popular mandate only months ago, puts Fiji in a league of its own.

Maintaining stability and security in the Pacific must be a major focus of New Zealand foreign policy in the period ahead. Our efforts will totally lack credibility if this sad outbreak of maverick activity by the Fiji military is tolerated for one minute.

2006 Awards

The National Party spokesman on Foreign Affairs is in Australia this week, accompanying the Leader and Deputy Leader of the Opposition in meetings in Sydney and Canberra. A more substantial offering will follow next week.

Next Friday’s edition will be the last for 2006. Don’t forget to make your nominations for the mccully.co 2006 awards.

ENDS


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