25 Jun 2004

New Zealand Foreign Minister rejects any suspension of NZ aid to Tonga

4:23 pm on 25 June 2004

New Zealand's foreign minister, Phil Goff, says this country won't be drawn into Tonga's democracy issue.

Mr Goff's comments follows a suggestion from Tonga's pro democracy advocate Akilisi Pohiva yesterday, that New Zealand suspend aid until the Kingdom becomes a democracy.

But the Minister says New Zealand won't interfere, and the issue has to be sorted out by the people of Tonga.

"We will give support when we're asked for, as will the Pacific region. But you are a sovereign and independent country and I can't just stroll in and interfere in your domestic affairs, though I can pass comment when I see something happening like stopping the right of publishing the Taimi O Tonga which I think is wrong and against basic human rights."

Foreign Affairs Minister, Phil Goff.