Nauruan MP's NZ return delayed

  • 08/07/2015
Nauru President Baron Waqa (Reuters)
Nauru President Baron Waqa (Reuters)

By Boris Jancic

A legal challenge by an opposition politician in Nauru to allow him to return to his family in New Zealand has been delayed.

Opposition MP Roland Kun was pulled off a New Zealand-bound plane by Nauru officials on June 17 and had his passport cancelled.

He has not been charged with anything but authorities say he was involved in protests at parliament during which three opposition MPs were arrested and have left him trapped on the island indefinitely.

He denies any involvement.

Mr Kun was due to appear in the Supreme Court of Nauru today to challenge the cancellation of his passport but it has now been postponed to Monday because the Chief Justice is attending family matters in Fiji.

He said the government had yet to explain to him exactly on what grounds his passport had been taken.

"They have pretty much driven their heels in the ground about what they are doing to me," he said.

"It just doesn't make any sense. They are not putting up a proper case."

Mr Kun's partner, Katy Le Roy, was last year fired as the island nation's parliamentary counsel and had her residence status revoked in what Mr Kun called a personal attack.

She now lives in Wellington with the couple's three children and is banned from travelling to Nauru.

Meanwhile, one of the three arrested MPs, Mathew Batsuia, will appear in court today to enter a plea and set a trial date.

He is out on bail on the condition he does not speak to media.

The other two MPs will appear on Friday to see if their remand will be extended.

Meanwhile, New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully says he will put concerns about what is seen as deteriorating democratic rights in Nauru to the island nation's President Baron Waqa at a meeting tomorrow.

"New Zealand is taking the reports coming out of Nauru very seriously and this meeting is an opportunity to pass on our concerns and discuss our contribution to the justice sector in light of recent events," he said yesterday.

New Zealand is the principal funder of Nauru's justice system.

Last year, the Nauruan government forced the island's then-only judge out of office and suspended most of the opposition from parliament indefinitely.

Local media are prohibited from speaking to the opposition and citizens have been stopped from accessing Facebook.