McCully on The Nation

Press Release – The Nation

Foreign Minister Murray McCully has set out new terms under which New Zealand might relax some of its sanctions on the Fiji military Government led by Commodore Frank Bainimarama.

McCully on The Nation

New Zealand May Relax Some Sanctions On Fiji

Foreign Minister Murray McCully has set out new terms under which New Zealand might relax some of its sanctions on the Fiji military Government led by Commodore Frank Bainimarama.

Speaking on TV3’s “The Nation”, Mr McCully said that if the Fijians were to request that we should exempt new civilian appointees to the cabinet or to permanent secretary’s roles coming in to replace military people currently occupying those roles,” then we’d certainly consider lifting the sanctions as far as those individuals were concerned.”

“Because it is true that that is an impediment,” said Mr McCully

Asked what New Zealand’s response would be to Fiji if Commodore Bainimarama restricted politicians like former Prime Minister and indigenous Fijian leader, Laisenia Qarase from standing for election Mr McCully said New Zealand’s repose would be made in collaboration with Australia and other Pacific countries.

“But we certainly would be focused on whether elections are free and fair, can anyone be a candidate?” he said.

“Are people going to be able to have freedom of assembly?

“Is he media going to be free to report what’s going on?

“All of those factors will determine how we behave and again New Zealand’s tried to be quite constructive and open minded about this.

“To the extent that positive changes are occurring, we want to encourage them.

“We want to be part of that process.”

Mr McCully said New Zealand would suspend its judgement on the consultative dialogue taking place within Fiji over the new constitution.

“We should be open minded about the possibility that it might be inclusive and that’ll be a good sign.”

Foreign Minister Confirms Ministry’s Budget Looks Bigger Than It Really Is.

Foreign Minister Murray McCully has confirmed that some large figures included in his Ministry’s budget are simply accounting measures.

Speaking today on TV3’s “The Nation”, Mr McCully said he was asking the Ministry to cut only $25 million from its budget.

But he also confirmed that the Ministry was paying back huge sums to Treasury as a charge on the capital value of its assets, particularly Embassies.

One example was Tokyo which had a budget of $21 million of which $12 million had to be returned to Treasury and in Paris $5 million was paid out by Treasury and then promptly reclaimed.

“It does tend to make the numbers look bigger than they otherwise would be,” he said.

However the Minister denied that his relationship with the Ministry’s Secretary, John Allen, had broken down.

He described it as “professional, and I think quite relaxed.”

And he hinted that he was willing to consider more back downs on the some of the dramatic cost savings proposed by the Ministry which last week led to a letter of complaint from 49 of the country’s 53 senior diplomats posted overseas.

“I that I think there are aspects of the changes there that deserve some further consideration and some changes that the government’s simply not comfortable with,” he said.

ends

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