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SUVA, Fiji Islands (April 23, 1999 - PACNEWS/Fiji Times)---Fiji’s Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka has issued a directive for a group of New Zealand fireman, contracted to man the country’s two international airports, to leave the country.

The Prime Minister’s directive came as airport workers, who are members of the Fiji Public Service Association (FPSA), continued their protest against the recruitment of 11 New Zealand fire fighters.

The workers are protesting the corporatization of the Civil Aviation Authority of Fiji (CAAF).

Airports Fiji, Ltd. (AFL), a new company formed as part of the restructure, has taken over the operations of the two airports, at Nadi and Nausori.

Prime Minister Rabuka said he has instructed the Home Affairs Ministry to look into the legality of the work permits of the New Zealanders.

Public Enterprises Minister Isimeli Bose, whose ministry is responsible for the CAAF restructure, said the firemen had been employed on a temporary basis and would return at the end of the month. He said AFL was in the process of recruiting local firemen.

Rabuka expressed concern at the manner in which the expatriate firemen arrived from New Zealand and started work immediately.

"I believe our citizens going to New Zealand won’t get the same conditions, where they spend five minutes there and get employed. I think they should be out as quickly as possible."

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