Tuesday, December 18, 2007

NZ remain firm on Bainimarama

Monday, December 17, 2007

NEW ZEALAND will not entertain interim Prime Minister, Commander Voreqe Bainimarama's request for a visa to attend next year's Pacific Trade Expo in Auckland.

Senior press officer, James Funnell told Fiji Times Online Commander Bainimarama will not be granted a visa to visit New Zealand while sanctions remain in place.

In a Radio New Zealand International news report, the commander indicated his interest in the expo when he met with NZ Pacific Business Council chairman, Gilbert Ullrich.

During that meeting in Suva, the commander is reported to have expressed his concern about tourism and the drop in trade, saying he was interested in accompanying Fiji's delegation to New Zealand in March.

UNDP, NZ to help Fiji voter education
17 DEC 2007 - www.fijilive.com

An initiative taken on by the United Nations Development Programme and the New Zealand High Commission will facilitate civic rights awareness through participation in national elections in Fiji.

The three year National Initiative on Civic Education (NICE) also aims to facilitate information on national governance and civic responsibility through participation in national and municipality elections in the wider community of Fiji.

The agreement was signed by the UNDP Resident Representative, Richard Dictus and the acting New Zealand High Commissioner Joanna Kempkers last week.

Dictus said the initiative is timely as it will support the voter education needs for Fiji’s elections in 2009 and the country’s return to democracy.

“It will also contribute towards improving peoples’ understanding of the democratic systems, institutions and processes used in the country. It should also support the democratic participation of the different communities in the country,” Dictus said.

The initiative will form a component of the UNDP’s wider Good Governance Programme that includes support towards strengthened Parliament Secretariat and development of civic education curriculum in schools.

Kempkers said New Zealand’s contribution to the UNDP Good Governance Programme will increase over the next three years to around FJD$4.6 million. Of this amount $2.3m will go towards the NICE.

“New Zealand is pleased to be the primary donor of the community civics and curriculum development aspects of the National Initiative on Civic Education,” Kempkers said.

“New Zealand views the provision of this support as a unique opportunity to assist with developing a fair and robust environment for the future development of Fiji.”

Mark Borg, who has previously been involved in electoral work in Fiji, has been appointed manager of the NICE.

Borg will be joined by a team of three national and three international United Nations Volunteers (UNVs).

The team will work closely with the Government, non-state actors and the private sector in Fiji.

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