McCully quizzed on Nauru

Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully says he understands that no journalists have gone to Nauru since that Pacific nation imposed a non-refundable $8000 visa fee on reporters wishing to visit.

Mr McCully made that response during a question-and-answer session after he had given an opening address, mainly on UN Security Council-related issues, at the University of Otago's 50th annual Foreign Policy School in Dunedin.

Auckland political commentator Chris Trotter then asked Mr McCully about concerns involving the recent loss of civil liberties in Nauru, where several hundred people, seeking asylum in Australia, are being held in detention.

Five opposition MPs have been suspended from Nauru's 19-member legislature after the Nauru Government accused them of spreading lies to foreign news media.

Mr McCully said '' obviously we're concerned'', and said he was aware of travel restrictions involving a Nauru Opposition MP.

New Zealand provided Nauru with $2 million annually to support its justice system, and sometimes discussions were needed with Pacific nations on ''difficult'' topics.

He planned to discuss the situation with Nauru officials at a meeting in Australia.

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