The Fijian Government is putting restrictions on foreign media entering Fiji as tension grows over New Zealand's travel ban on the interim regime.
Talks between Foreign Minister Murray McCully and Fiji's Frank Bainimarama yesterday failed to reach any resolution to the ongoing stand-off between the two countries over the travel ban.
The Fijian Government was understood to be on the verge of expelling Acting High Commissioner Caroline McDonald yesterday because of New Zealand's repeated refusal to grant a visa to the son of an official in the Fijian interim regime.
However, she remained in Fiji last night. Mr McCully spoke to Commodore Bainimarama yesterday but said there were no developments.
He would not comment on whether Fiji was threatening to expel Ms McDonald. By last night Commodore Bainimarama had not commented.
Last night, Fijian media were also reporting the Government was putting restrictions on foreign media entering Fiji. Fijivillage.com said the Ministry of Information would now question all foreign media entering Fiji and require them to outline their reasons for visiting before deciding whether to grant them entry.
It quoted Deputy Secretary for Information Major Neumi Leweni confirming TV One reporter Barbara Dreaver was banned from Fiji.
Dreaver was detained when she arrived in Fiji on Monday night and was sent back to New Zealand yesterday after Fijian officials said she was on an immigration "watchlist".
Prime Minister John Key said the Government would raise the issue with the Fijian Government, saying the refusal to allow a New Zealand Foreign Affairs official access to Ms Dreaver was "totally unacceptable".
TV3 now has reporter Sia Aston in Fiji. She said on 3 News last night that she was questioned about her entry to the country after trying to film at the Army barracks.
Mr Key said Ms Dreaver's treatment was disappointing.
"It's the reality of dealing with a military regime that they will ... take the sort of action they took."
Mr Key said the Government had yesterday sent a clear statement to Commodore Bainimarama stating New Zealand had no plans to lift the ban.
Mr Key would not comment on whether New Zealand would retaliate if Ms McDonald was expelled by forcing the departure of Fiji's representative in New Zealand - Acting head of mission Ponsami Chetty.
He said the Fijian Government had also refused to issue consular visas for replacement police and defence attaches in New Zealand's High Commission in Suva.
Labour's foreign affairs spokeswoman Helen Clark said she had discussed the issue with Mr McCully and "totally supported" the Government's decision.
Although New Zealand has given exceptions to the ban on some occasions, such as to allow sport teams to travel through New Zealand, there was no precedent for the type of exemption sought.
Tensions between New Zealand and Fiji have been building since New Zealand refused to renew a student visa for George Nacewa, who returned to Fiji from New Zealand last month.
Mr Nacewa is the son of the Secretary to Fijian President Josefa Iliola and a student at Massey University.
Yesterday, Fiji's interim Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum denied on Radio New Zealand there were plans to expel Ms McDonald, saying it was speculation.
The Fiji Government was also concerned about New Zealand's refusal to approve visas for the daughter of the Permanent Secretary for Health, Dr Lepani Waqatakirewa, and for Fiji Under-20 soccer player Jone Nailogi, whose father is in the military.