NZ imposes wide range of sanctions on Fiji

  • Helen Clark
Prime Minister

Prime Minister Helen Clark and Foreign Minister Winston Peters today announced a further series of sanctions in response to the Fijian military’s unlawful seizure of power. The measures were discussed and agreed by Ministers this morning.

“These measures reflect New Zealand’s abhorrence of the actions taken by the Fijian military. Those actions are a tragedy for Fiji. New Zealand now has no option but to respond further to this completely unacceptable and unconstitutional action by the Republic of Fiji Military Force.

“We are putting in place a wide range of measures which will affect high level contacts between the two countries: immigration; defence and sports links; and development assistance links of an inter-governmental character. Events in Fiji will also have adverse impacts on Fiji’s participation in international fora, initiatives and events.

“The measures being taken are:

High level Contacts:

  • Ministerial contact with any purported new government in Fiji will not take place, unless it is for dialogue and mediation purposes.
  • Members of any purported new Fijian government will not be permitted to travel to New Zealand.

Immigration Matters:

  • The ban announced yesterday on senior RFMF officers and their families travelling to New Zealand will be extended to include all members of the RFMF and other individuals connected with the coup.
  • Fiji’s participation in the new Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme will be frozen with immediate effect. That means Fiji will be excluded from this scheme which is designed to help Pacific Island Forum members gain better access to seasonal work opportunities in New Zealand.
  • No applications from Fijians for entry to New Zealand for seasonal work will be accepted from today.
  • The eligibility of Fiji’s citizens to take part in future immigration ballots under the Pacific Access Quota has been suspended. In accordance with New Zealand law, this will not affect those who have been selected from previous ballots and have already been invited to apply for residence by 11 January 2007.

Defence Matters:

  • Today all RFMF personnel currently in New Zealand studying, training or exercising are being told that they and their accompanying family members must make arrangements to leave New Zealand forthwith.
  • Fijian military officers currently training with the New Zealand military will not be able to participate in any activities associated with that training, with immediate effect, pending their departure from New Zealand.

Sporting Matters:

  • Fijian sports teams and Fijian sportspeople at all levels will be banned from coming to New Zealand for the purposes of sport, unless international sporting and legal obligations require otherwise. As provided for in arrangements after the 2000 coup, where New Zealand is hosting an international sports tournament which requires acceptance of international participants, entry will not be banned, subject to those concerned meeting other immigration requirements.
  • Discussions will be held with New Zealand sporting organisations scheduled to attend international tournaments in Fiji. The organisers of such tournaments (such as the 2007 Netball World Cup) will be approached to assess the safety of participants and the scope for seeking alternative venues.

Development Assistance: The Government has decided to:

  • Freeze any new development assistance initiatives which provide assistance to or partner with the government in Fiji, and review current such activities.
  • Discontinue the awarding of new government managed scholarships and training.
  • Review and reconsider New Zealand’s assistance to the Fiji Electoral Office.
  • Suspend the Fiji public sector’s eligibility for training initiatives under regional governance programmes.
  • Review planned support for people in squatter settlements, with a view to assessing the scope for providing such assistance through NGOs and relevant regional agencies, rather than through the Fiji government agencies.

International/Regional Diplomacy:

  • New Zealand will work with the Pacific Islands Forum, the Commonwealth, the UN and with likeminded countries to explore what further steps can be taken in response to the coup. These include (but are not limited to):
    • Taking forward the discussion held among Forum Foreign Ministers, at their special meeting in Sydney, last Friday on whether Fiji, under a military-imposed illegitimate government, can continue to hold the position of Forum Chair.
    • Reassessing the role the Fijian military has hitherto played in protecting peace and democracy abroad, given that those same troops have removed their own government from power.

"The New Zealand Government cannot overstate the severity with which it views the actions of Commodore Bainimarama and the Fiji military. They must cease their disgraceful acts and restore the legitimately elected government, or suffer the consequences of their grossly illegal acts," Helen Clark and Winston Peters said.