Most Fijians back Frank

A poll shows why New Zealand has to change its failed Fiji policies:

Most Fijians think the world should butt out and leave the country to sort out its own return to democracy, according to a poll released today.

Fiji has faced international condemnation after Commodore Frank Bainimarama seized power following a coup in 2006, and has been suspended from the Pacific Islands Forum and Commonwealth after failing to hold democratic elections.

Many countries have imposed limited sanctions on Fiji, and New Zealand and Australia have also imposed travel sanctions against members of the regime and their relatives, in an effort to pressure Fiji to return to democracy.

The Lowy Institute Fiji Poll, which last month surveyed 1032 people from Fiji’s main island of Viti Levu, found the majority of local people opposed the international pressure and thought the country should be left alone to return to democracy.

Of those surveyed, 63 per cent either strongly disagreed or partly disagreed with the international approach taken towards Fiji in response to the coup.

Meanwhile John Key says he isn’t bullying Pacific nations to shut up about Fiji at?the?Pacific Forum. I’m not so sure he can protest his innocence there.

There will be no vote on whether Fiji should be returned to the Pacific Islands Forum fold despite claims that is what some countries want.

Kiribati President Anote Tong today called for Fiji to be restored to the Pacific Islands Forum and told media there was more support for it than people knew.

But New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said there had been consensus that the current exclusion of Fiji was the right stance.

He said he was not trying to suppress leaders talking about it, but Fiji’s exclusion was not on the formal agenda.

He agreed the Pacific nations were a family and said that’s why the other leaders were distressed.