5 Aug 2004

Tongan newspaper editor lashes out at the Tongan royal family

3:21 pm on 5 August 2004

A Tongan newspaper editor is calling for the New Zealand government to do more more to bring about democracy in Tonga.

Kalafi Moala made the plea at a select committee hearing in Auckland into New Zealand's relationship with Tonga.

Monica Holt reports.

"Kalafi Moala, who was once jailed in Tonga for speaking out against the government, launched a scathing attack on the Tongan royal family. He says New Zealand should do more to stop what he calls the unbelievable corruption within the Tongan government. He wants New Zealand to help fund a referendum on whether Tonga should become a democracy. Mr Moala is urging leaders at this weekend's Pacific Forum in Samoa to front up to the problems in Tonga. He says the prime ministers of Australia and New Zealand are willing to talk about topics like rugby, but appear to tiptoe around the more sensitive issues."

Monica Holt.