New Zealand Threatened Fiji Army Chief against Coup


One of the US diplomatic cables revealed that New Zealand threatened Fiji’s Army Chief Bainimarama and his wife with preventing them visiting their grandchildren living in New Zealand if he staged a coup to dethrone the government of Laisenia Qarase. Stuff.co.nz quoted the cable as saying that Bainimarama and his wife Meli came to New Zealand in November 2006 to attend a granddaughter’s First Holy Communion in Wellington.

His statement prompted then New Zealand Foreign Minister Winston Peters and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to set up urgent meetings with Bainimarama and, later, Qarase to discuss the issue. Unusually, New Zealand’s "talking points" were then put to Bainimarama by the British Defence Attache based in Wellington, Nigel Lloyd, at a lunch. "I gather you are down here on a private visit for your grand-daughter’s first communion – a significant family occasion. I hope you enjoy your visit," the cable says Lloyd was instructed to say.

Lloyd further warned that if Bainimarama did not listen, New Zealand would change its travel advisory to discourage tourism to Fiji. Bainimarama returned to Fiji, staged his coup and has since then expelled at various times three New Zealand diplomats. His grandchildren are reportedly backed in Fiji.

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