Fiji leader takes umbrage with Key

Last updated 15:40 25/05/2011
Voreqe Bainimarama
JOHN SELKIRK/Dominion Post
Fiji's military dictator Voreqe Bainimarama.
John Key
Prime Minister John Key.

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Fiji's military strongman Voreqe Bainimarama has told Prime Minister John Key to butt out of Fijian affairs.

His comment followed Key saying earlier this week that New Zealand would consider allowing runaway Fiji Colonel

Tevita Mara entry into New Zealand.

Mara fled to Tonga, where he remains, ahead of charges that he was plotting the overthrow of Bainimarama who came to power in a democracy ending coup in 2006.

"It would be a matter of concern for everyone if John Key allowed him into New Zealand," Bainimarama told Auckland's Indian radio station Tarana.

He said such a decision would mean Key was reneging on his earlier intention to review the relationship between Wellington and Suva.

"Obviously he is not very serious about that, he is obviously trying to put a wedge between Tonga and Fiji's relationship."

Bainimarama said a Key decision to let Mara in would be "most unfortunate."

"One might want to ask if New Zealand wants to give political asylum to anybody who does wrong, not only in Fiji but also in other countries or is he just targeting Fiji.

"John Key has been harping about democracy in Fiji," he told Tarana.

"If this is what democracy means to be a refuge to wrong doers this is obviously not the direction or path Fiji wants to take.

"He is trying to make life difficult for us in Fiji but he is not going to succeed."

Bainimarama said his advise to Key was "stay out of our business, it is between Fiji and Tonga."

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