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NZ support for Fiji as elections near

New Zealand will put $NZ1.5 million ($A1.41 million) towards a project aimed at re-establishing and strengthening Fiji’s parliament, Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully says.

 
 

Mr McCully is in Fiji to meet with his Fijian counterpart Ratu Inoke Kubuabola.

It’s the first visit to the Pacific Island nation by a government minister since New Zealand lifted its remaining travel sanctions against Fiji last month.

In September, Fiji will hold its first democratic elections since Commodore Frank Bainimarama seized power in a 2006 military coup and installed himself as prime minister.

New Zealand is supporting Fiji’s moves to hold free and fair elections and will provide $NZ1.5 million to a United Nations Development Program-led project to help re-establish Fiji’s parliament.

“We also recognise that some of the institutions needed to underpin the return to democratic rule will require support during the transition and there is not much point holding elections if parliament is unable to function effectively,” Mr McCully said on Thursday.

The project will focus on practical support for items like IT and Hansard equipment, and building capacity among new MPs and parliamentary staff.

“New Zealand is pleased with the progress Fiji is making towards holding elections and also mindful of the heavy lifting which needs to take place between now and September,” Mr McCully said.

 
 

 
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