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Wednesday, November 4

McCully confirms NZ diplomat ordered out of Fiji

Foreign Minister Murray McCully tonight confirmed that New Zealand's Acting Head of Mission in Fiji has been ordered out of the country by the interim government of Commodore Frank Bainimarama.

"Late this afternoon firstly the Australian High Commissioner and then New Zealand's Acting Head of Mission were called in by the head of Foreign Affairs in Fiji and told that they would be formally notified tomorrow that they had been declared Personna Non Grata," Mr McCully said.

"The move follows a series of threats from the interim regime over recent days in relation to the effect that travel sanctions are having on members of the Fijian judiciary.

"In New Zealand's case the threats have been in the context of a judge who was recently caught by the travel ban but was granted a medical exemption to fly to Auckland with her daughter, who is currently getting treatment here for a non-emergency condition.

"The New Zealand government will now consider the appropriate steps to take in response to today's expulsion, and also assess the impact of this action on the already depleted resources in our Suva High Commission.

"Last December our Acting High Commissioner and Trade Commissioner were expelled from Fiji -- following the previous expulsion of our High Commissioner -- and at the same time the interim regime declined to roll over the positions of our Police and Defence Attaches," Mr McCully said.