WikiLeaks cable: NZ worries about Bainimarama

Photo / Mark Mitchell
Photo / Mark Mitchell

This is one of the cables about New Zealand held by Wikileaks.

April 13, 2007

Classified By: Deputy Chief of Mission David J. Keegan, for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

1. (C) The GNZ worries that interim PM Bainimarama is increasingly fragile and his actions risk throwing the country into armed conflict. Heather Riddell, Director of the Pacific Division, calls Bainimarama's measures restricting the Great Council of Chiefs (GCC) "loopy."

Bainimarama has now cut himself off from Fiji's traditional power base. This will circumscribe his support base and will add to perceptions that he is running a Fijian Indian agenda. Riddell observes it seems unlikely Bainimarama will be able to dig himself out of this hole, and he may become more desperate as a result.

2. (C) While the GCC is ridden with factions and some Fijians dislike it, most will be shocked by Bainimarama's actions. Riddell is particularly concerned that the measures may make an intra-military reaction more likely, and the result could be violent mutiny and other bloodshed.

3. (C) Comment. While we are not in a position to assess MFAT,s concern over possible mutiny and bloodshed, New Zealand,s analysis and predictions on Fiji have proven exceptionally reliable over the past few months.


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