NZ supports Fiji elections

  • Murray McCully
Foreign Affairs

Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully has announced a programme of electoral assistance, development assistance and the easing of some sanctions in Fiji in order to support progress toward elections next year.

Mr McCully says the New Zealand Government welcomed recent moves toward elections, including the release of the final constitution, and wanted to support the elections process.

“A senior official from the New Zealand Electoral Commission has recently participated in elections planning work in Fiji.  New Zealand will now offer to resource the on-going work that is taking place.

“The Cabinet has also agreed some changes which recognise both the progress that has been made in Fiji and the need for support for free and fair elections.

“In addition to supporting the elections office, we have decided to reinstate 10 post graduate scholarships for Fijian students.  These were suspended in 2006.

“We have also agreed to formally revoke the sporting sanctions instituted in 2006.  While it has been our practice to provide exemptions from this ban in virtually every case, we judge that the time is now right to formally revoke the ban.  Individual bans will still apply to members of teams who are caught by the sanctions on members of the regime and the military.

“Over recent months the government has eased the operation of the travel sanctions, leaving them in place for key regime and military members but easing the process around family members of less senior figures.  We intend to continue down this path as further progress is made toward free and fair elections.

“The decisions announced today have been signalled for some time as important steps toward normalising the relationship in recognition of election progress,” Mr McCully says.