Pacific Islands Forum not concerned by Bainimarama boycott

John Key at the Pacific Islands Forum (Isobel Ewing / Newshub.)
John Key at the Pacific Islands Forum (Isobel Ewing / Newshub.)

Pacific leaders say Fijian leader Frank Bainimarama's antics across the ocean didn't undermine the Pacific Islands Forum.

Bainimarama has arrested opposition leaders in Fiji and assigned himself the foreign affairs portfolio on the same day the leaders gathered in Pohnpei, Micronesia, to discuss major issues affecting the Pacific.

He's boycotted the event since 2009, saying New Zealand and Australia don't belong there - this week reiterating that stance by saying they are "not Pacific Islanders".

Today John Key said Bainimarama is within his rights to reshuffle his Cabinet and refused to comment on whether he might be trying to undermine the Forum.

"If that was his motivation it's not working anyway because the focus of attention and discussion really isn't about what's happening domestically in Fiji."

Key says he wanted to hear directly from his people in Fiji about what was happening rather than making judgements based on media reports.

"We hope it'll be calm and sensible there, the Government won an election recently... they've got the support of the people, they don't need to do anything silly".

Samoa Prime Minister Tuiaepa Sailele Malielegaoi added he only hears about Bainimarama through the newspapers.

"The fellow makes himself very rare these days".