ONCE critical of Fiji, New Zealand has shown confidence in Fiji's step towards democracy with election set for September this year.
New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully is confident Fiji will have a free and fair election.
Speaking in Apia where he traveled with the EU and Asian Development Bank delegation, he said he believed the election would be competitive but stood by his belief that the election would run smoothly.
Despite criticisms being piled on the election process by former parliamentarians who are intending to contest the election, Mr McCully said there was belief Fiji could have a good election, PACNEWS reports.
A week earlier, Mick Beddoes, a former Fijian Opposition leader had told Radio New Zealand that things on the ground are not fine, things are not free, things are not fair and everybody, it appears, except the New Zealand and Australian governments seem to know it.
McCully, however, said Fiji was progressing well with their preparations and there were still things that needed to be ironed out.
"But one must keep an open mind on this progress," he said.
He said Fiji was going through tough times and that Fiji had come a long way and this upcoming election could be the turning point.
"But whatever the result, the New Zealand Government will accept the outcome," Mr McCully said.
McCully said the NZ Government has already lifted some of its sanctions against Fiji and has already committed its support to Fiji.
"What's important to New Zealand is an opportunity for the people to elect their own government," he said.