18 Mar 2004

Tongan MP seeks help in Auckland for constitutional case

1:30 pm on 18 March 2004

A Pro-democracy MP from Tonga says the Tongan community in Auckland will be asked to contribute towards court action against the Kingdom's government.

Akilisi Pohiva, who is currently in Auckland, says he is holding a meeting on Friday to ask the local community to give towards a writ seeking a review of amendments to the Tongan constitution.

Last year the government amended the constitution to pave the way for legislation which has been criticised as anti-freedom of speech and anti-freedom of the press.

Mr Pohiva says a fund-raising campaign has already started in Tonga and he expects Aucklanders to want to give as well.

"We hope to discuss with them, the Tongan community here in Auckland, our wish for the Tongans living outside Tonga to contribute towards this very important and historic challenge in court. Tongans and supporters of our movement will pay for the cost."

Akilisi Pohiva says the writ, which currently has 135 plaintiffs, will probably be served in the by the end of the month.