So what’s the upside for Fiji? Sweet Fanny Adams


John Key really is tone deaf.

He is about to go to Fiji to have a chat with my mate Frank…here’s a clue, I’ve spoken to him more than John has…and he decides he will advocate on behalf of the Media party for one of the luvvies who got banned.

What an insult.

Prime Minister John Key says he will raise the Fiji Government’s ongoing ban on some New Zealand reporters during his visit to Fiji this week.

Mr Key leaves on Thursday for the first visit by a New Zealand Prime Minister since the 2006 coup led by former military commander Commodore Frank Bainimarama.

The visit follows the holding of democratic elections in Fiji in 2014 but has prompted questions about other actions by the Fijian Government.

That include ongoing bans on New Zealand and Australian journalists whose reporting in the aftermath of the coup upset Bainimarama’s regime and resulted in bans on them returning to Fiji.

One News reporter Barbara Dreaver, former Fairfax reporter Michael Field and Australian journalist Sean Dorney were all banned in 2009 and are still subject to the ban. Even Mr Key’s own chief press secretary Sia Aston, a former 3 News reporter, was detained and sent back from Fiji while on a reporting visit in 2009.  

Ms Dreaver described the ban as “a disgrace” on the One News website this week. “Journalists should not be banned in any democratic country.The fact that the New Zealand delegation headed by the Prime Minister cannot include the national broadcaster’s Pacific Correspondent is a disgrace.”

A special dispensation was needed for a RNZAF Hercules carrying Foreign Minister Murray McCully’s Pacific Mission to transit through Nadi because Ms Dreaver was on board. Mr Key said if the issue had not been resolved he would raise it with Bainimarama.

“There were restrictions on certain people but all of that has sort of come and gone now. We believe absolutely and passionately in the freedom of the press and that the press should be free to travel. If it hasn’t been dealt with, we will look at that issue, yes.”

To add insult to injury he’s decided to insult Fiji’s democracy as well.

Mr Key said his visit was to show support for the restoration of democracy, although it might not be a perfect democracy.

“The advice we get is that Frank Bainimarama has been quite popular and is doing quite well there. I’m not saying it is absolutely perfect, but there are probably quite a few countries that have a form of democracy we wouldn’t see as perfect.”

Some in this country reckon our democracy isn’t perfect either….ECan springs to mind….but how rude is that to insult a country’s form of governance.

Would Key say the same about China…they don’t even have a democracy…or Iran, no democracy there either…or Saudi Arabia, a feudal kingdom with appalling human rights abuses is hardly perfect either.

But no, John Key has to do what every Kiwi PM since forever does and insult Fiji.

I’d be surprised if his meeting with Bainimarama lasts more than 30 minutes.

There is no upside to Fiji letting Barbara Dreaver back in, and my source in Fiji says a snowball has more chance of getting past Nadi airport in mid Summer than Barbara Dreaver.


– NZ Herald

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.