FIJI DEPORTS NEW ZEALAND JOURNALIST

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Action puzzles New Zealand Prime Minister

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Dec. 16, 2008) – Tension is building between Fiji's interim Government and New Zealand after the Immigration Department deported a Kiwi journalist and claims to expel the country’s High Commission to Fiji.

New Zealand television journalist Barbara Dreaver was put on a flight back to New Zealand after she was found on Fijis black list.

TV NZ website says Dreaver was on her way home on an Air Pacific flight after being detained at Fiji's Nadi Airport on last night.

"She was detained while going through immigration and taken to the barracks in Nadi by the name of Hotel Kennedy, which along with offering cheap backpackers accommodation has a secure facility with locks on the outside of the doors. Dreaver was there overnight and under guard.

"It's understood that she was reasonably treated but she has been black-listed by the current administration. Dreaver had arrived in Fiji to cover the diplomatic standoff between New Zealand and Fiji, after the Fijian military threatened to expel acting New Zealand High Commissioner, Caroline McDonald," the TV NZ website said.

Speaking to TV NZ by phone from Nadi airport last night, Ms Dreaver said: "I came here to a job and I'm leaving having not completed that job and that's really frustrating. My job as a journalist is to report on the news, not be the news so I'm finding it incredibly frustrating. But on another level, sometimes safety has to take precedence and given some of what I've heard this morning it is a good idea that I come back on the plane."

NZ Prime Minister John Key told the news agency he could not understand why Ms Dreaver was sent home and the refusal to allow officials to see her in detention was "totally unacceptable" and will be taken up with the regime on Tuesday.

Fiji Times Online: http://www.fijitimes.com.

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