Editorial

Editorial: New Zealand Works Harder To Maintain Positive Influence

Next week Fiji will welcome New Zealand’s Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters. His visit comes at a time when renewed geopolitical concerns by the Americans, Australians and New Zealanders about
22 Feb 2019 12:15
Editorial: New Zealand Works Harder To Maintain Positive Influence
Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters.

Next week Fiji will welcome New Zealand’s Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters. His visit comes at a time when renewed geopolitical concerns by the Americans, Australians and New Zealanders about China’s role and influence in the region.

It also follows New Zealand Government’s ‘Pacific Reset’ initiative.

Last year, Mr Peters had announced a refreshed approach to the region with two key drivers:

  • The Pacific Islands region is challenged by a broad array of challenges it is not, in some cases, well equipped to tackle; and
  • The Pacific has become an increasingly contested strategic space, under which New Zealand has to work harder to maintain positive influence.

As a result, New Zealand’s engagement with the Pacific is characterised by five principles:

  • Understanding
  • Friendship
  • Mutual benefit
  • Collective ambition
  • Sustainability

The most recent assistance rendered to Fiji is through the Republic of Fiji Military Forces.

Earlier this week the head of the New Zealand Defence Force Legal Delegation met the RFMF legal team.

The message was clear. The RFMF needs to review its Manual of Military Law. It is outdated and requires immediate review to suit current conditions of the RFMF.

The fact is, our armed forces still uses old British Laws – the Army Act 1955 and the Queen’s Regulations 1972.

With the help of the Kiwis, the review will assist in the formulation of a new military law. Titled the Republic of Fiji Military Forces Disciplinary Act – it is designed for RFMF disciplinary and administration procedures.

The proposed law is expected to bring about more independence, transparency, a lean mechanism of disciplinary procedures while at the same time uphold human rights issues.

Earlier in the week NZDF officials also met with their Fijian counterparts to relook at the role of peacekeeping in today’s context.

The one-day seminar looked at Contemporary.

Peacekeeping Operations.

This required contributing countries to be relevant and effective. Also attending the seminar was RFMF Commander Rear Admiral Viliame Naupoto and Speaker of Parliament and a former Peacekeeping Commanding Officer, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau.

Yesterday New Zealand High Commissioner Jonathan Curr was at Blackrock camp in Nadi. It was his inaugural visit.

He met with the Minister for Defence and Foreign Affairs Inia Seruiratu, RFMF Chief of Staff Captain (Navy) John Fox and Director Department of Peace Support Operations Colonel Pacolo Luveni.

Like the Australians who rolled out a number of new initiatives under the “Vuvale Partnership”, we can expect a number of special announcements next week when Mr Peters is here.

The RFMF support will certainly be on the cards.

Feedback: rosi.doviverata@fijisun.com.fj

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