Key Backs Fiji

Prime Minister John Key says New Zealand will back Fiji’s bid for a top United Nations post. Mr Key rejected an earlier request by Opposition Leader, Ro Teimumu Kepa, that
11 Jun 2016 10:40
Key Backs Fiji
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama with his New Zealand counterpart, John Key, at Nausori International Airport yesterday as Mr Key returns to New Zealand. Photo: Ronald Kumar

Prime Minister John Key says New Zealand will back Fiji’s bid for a top United Nations post.

Mr Key rejected an earlier request by Opposition Leader, Ro Teimumu Kepa, that NZ “withhold any support for Fiji,” until the Government “demonstrates real commitment to democratic principles and practices.”

Mr Key made the announcement at Naiyala High School in Tailevu before he departed for New Zealand yesterday afternoon.

Peter Thomson,  Fiji’s Permanent Representative to the UN, is a candidate for Presidency of UN  General Assembly 2016-2017.

“We are going to support Peter Thomson for Presidency and we are hopeful that it will be successful,” Mr Key said.

But whether Fiji will in return support New Zealand’s Helen Clark for the UN’s General Secretary post is not clear.

Mr Key said he was hopeful that Fiji would reciprocate the favour.

“Well hopefully they (Fiji) will, but they haven’t indicated in one way or another yet.”

Even though the Security Council selects the Secretary-General, support from other countries add weight to the campaign.

“It would be great for Fiji to give its support for Helen Clark,” Mr Key said.

On his twitter handle after the departure of his New Zealand counterpart, Voreqe Bainimarama tweeted: “Thank you @johnkeypm for accepting our invitation to come to Fiji – marking a new start for our bilateral relations.”


Mr Key held similar sentiments.

“I think it was very successful and the aim of this visit was to reset relationship. Not to resile from what we did, I don’t think the Fijian Government is doing that either – in terms of  resiling from what they have done, but really to say look we are now on new foundation stone and to take the relationship from strength to strength.”


PM Bainimarama’s banquet speech

“Just in the overall speech I wasn’t surprised that he made the comments that he made. He has made those comments before and he will probably make them again and he feels very strongly of the actions he took.

“New Zealand does not resile in the steps that we took, because at the core of it, NZ cherishes and believes strongly a democracy.”


PACER Plus  negotiations

Mr Key said they were making progress and some good discussions were made.

“PACER Plus we see is really a development agreement and so it’s an opportunity for basically countries around the Pacific to work in a more constructive way to make it easier for companies to do business for development to take place and really to create jobs and it’s highly likely that as a result of that New Zealand will have to make an enormous contribution to make that easier for everybody.”


Pacific Islands Forum

Mr Key again reiterated that New Zealand will remain a member of Forum.

“That’s because the PIF is the leadership that Australia and New Zealand has shown across the great many countries across the Pacific and we have a responsibility to those countries. What would be great would be if the Prime Minister would return himself to the Pacific Forum. At every other level Fiji has re-engaged and given that Fiji is a significant economy in the Pacific, it would be great to see them return but there is no way that NZ would leave the Pacific Forum.”


Opposition Office

Mr Key paid a courtesy call to the Leader of Opposition yesterday.

“The Opposition raised concerns as you would naturally expect in areas like the role of opposition, race issues in relation to human rights, there was concern of the expulsion and suspension of members of the Opposition and just generally the speed of which legislations are passing through the Parliamentary chamber without, as she believes  enough scrutiny.

“While NZ can understand those issues, we are here to help both Government and the Opposition and they can come to NZ for the training and support and we will continue to behave in that way to try and allow this democracy which I think is evolving to evolve at a faster pace to the highest standards possible.”


Edited by Nemani Delaibatiki


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