NEWS

Relations Back On Track

  Despite Our Differences Relations between Fiji and New Zealand are firmly back on track despite existing differences. Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama and his NZ counterpart John Key were in
11 Jun 2016 11:11
Relations Back On Track
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama with his New Zealand counterpart John Key at the Vale ni Bose complex in Suva yesterday for the traditional welcome ceremony. Photo: Ronald Kumar

 

Despite Our Differences

Relations between Fiji and New Zealand are firmly back on track despite existing differences.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama and his NZ counterpart John Key were in jovial mood hours before Mr Key flew out of Nausori Airport on his way home.

Mr Key arrived on Thursday with outstretched hands and keen to restore relations to pre-2006.

While Mr Bainimarama warmly received Mr Key and is also keen to build on restored relations, he wants the relationship to be equal. This means that they must have equal say on bilateral issues. In the past NZ and other development partners used to have its way because it was an aid donor country. PACER Plus negotiations are also part of this package, Fiji seeking a fair go.

The other contentious issue is Mr Bainimarama’s position on the membership of the Pacific Islands Forum. He proposes that NZ and Australia give up their seats and assume an observer status with other donor states. NZ and Australia are not budging.

Mr Key did not push the issue when he was here. He has left it to Mr Bainimarama to decide when he would return to attend the PIF.

Mr Key knows that Fiji is important to NZ in the regional political and socio-economic development.

Fiji is a key market for NZ exporters in the region. NZ has the lion’s share, about 80 per cent of trade between the two countries.

Mr Bainimarama is now expected to officially visit NZ after Mr Key extended the invitation on Thursday. Cyclone Winston has helped accelerate the warming of relations with NZ Defence personnel coming here to help in relief and rehabilitation.

We can now expect more development on a bilateral basis like the seasonal worker scheme.

Feedback: nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

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