8 Dec 2003

Tongans in NZ urged to make their views known to committee looking into relations with Tonga

8:34 am on 8 December 2003

The deputy chair of the New Zealand parliamentary committee looking into relations with Tonga is urging Tongans in this country to make their views known.

The foreign affairs, defence and trade committee released its terms of reference last week and Luamanuvao Winnie Laban says she would like to have the views of the Tongan community which she says is 40-thousand strong.

The inquiry, which accepts submissions until March the 28th, will be broad and cover trade, defence and parliamentary relations as well as aid.

Luamanuvao says she is aware that some people may be reluctant to put their views across because they are unfamiliar with the submission process.

"So we are trying to look at ways that we can access input from anyone to enable, expecially the Tongan people to particpate in this process. We're keen to listen and hear what they have to say."