Interview: Interim Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama

Maori Television’s current affairs show NATIVE AFFAIRS will screen an in-depth, New Zealand television exclusive interview with Fiji’s Interim Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama on Monday September 14 at 8.00 PM (replay on Friday September 18 at 10.00 PM).

The interview, with the show’s host Julian Wilcox, follows several years of attempts to gain a rare audience with the commodore.

Senior reporter Carmen Parahi, who brokered the interview, says: “Many foreign journalists have been kicked out of Fiji and their tapes taken from them. Although we received many reassurances the interview would take place, we had none to say we would leave Fiji with our tapes.”

The Maori Television crew did leave with their footage, in which Bainimarama discusses relations with New Zealand since John Key’s government came to power, and his desire for this country to re-instate the High Commission in Fiji.

The interview gives Bainimarama’s account of the reasons he is in control of Fiji.

Says Parahi: “He speaks about the economy, tourism, investment, intimidation of the media, churches and opposing political parties in Fiji.”

He also sends a message to Fijians living in New Zealand.

“My message to them would be nothing has changed in Fiji, it’s still Fiji. The way the world should be, that’s how we advertise Fiji. But we’re doing what we need to bring about reforms, that would make Fiji prosper, that would bring Fiji into a modern state. That’s what we’re trying to do here, so bear with us.”

NATIVE AFFAIRS will also run a second story investigating life in Fiji since the military coup of 2006, from the mouths of ordinary Fijians.

NATIVE AFFAIRS screens Monday September 14 at 8.00 PM (repeats Friday September 18 at 10.00 PM).

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