Foreign Minister Phil Goff said today that the Government was hopeful over signs that hostages would be released this
Thursday after the public signing of an Accord between the military and the Speight Group.
"The promise to release hostages will, however, attract some scepticism until it actually happens, given past broken
"While the release of the hostages unharmed would be hugely welcomed, it has been achieved at great cost if the price
is, as it seems, the inclusion of the Speight group in an interim government.
"New Zealand will wait and see what shape the new administration takes, and what if any commitment it shows to a return
of a genuine democracy. The signs, however, are not good.
"The new administration appears likely to contain members of Speight's group and so the interim government is likely to
seek to entrench the political superiority of indigenous Fijians over Indo-Fijians. If this occurs the future of New
Zealand and Fiji's relationship will be bleak.
"The fact that George Speight is happy about the outcome is in itself cause for concern," Mr Goff said.
"The options open to New Zealand include cutting back on non-humanitarian aid, ending military assistance and
reassessing the level of its diplomatic representation in Fiji. Comprehensive economic sanctions and withdrawal of
diplomatic relations are not, however, being considered.
"If Fiji chooses to follow the path of the ultra-nationalists it must do so in the knowledge that it's a path that will
make them unacceptable to much of the democratic world," Mr Goff concluded.
Contact: Paul Goldsmith 04 471 9794 025 477 982