25 Jun 2004

New Zealand Foreign Minister rejects any withdrawal of aid to Tonga

11:22 am on 25 June 2004

New Zealand's Minister for Foreign Affairs, Phil Goff, says he won't support, a suggestion from Tonga's pro democracy advocate, Akilisi Pohiva, that New Zealand suspend aid to Tonga until it becomes a democracy.

Mr Goff, who spoke with Mr Pohiva yesterday, says he totally disagrees with any suggestion that NewZealand withhold aid to Tonga.

"Why should we punish ordinary people in a country for the fact that their government is not democratically elected? Why would we stop the clean water supplies to the Niuas? Why would we stop development projects designed to lift people out of poverty in order to make a point to those that are not living in poverty, that are running the country?"