13 Aug 2004

Tonga pro-democracy spokesperson welcomes NZ immigration moves

7:16 am on 13 August 2004

A spokesperson for Tonga's pro-democracy movement welcomes the softening of New Zealand's immigration policy towards Tonga.

The changes came after talks between the two countries' Prime Ministers at the end of the Pacific Islands' Forum.

Tongan couples will now have a reduced figure of combined income to be eligible to migrate under the pacific access scheme.

Unfilled quota numbers will now carry over to the following year.

Dr Fred Sevele says the changes will also benefit Tonga financially.

"There is no doubt about it, that without the remittances from Australia, of Tongans there, from New Zealand, from the United States, we wouldn't be getting the levels of imports that we are now getting. So that will be positive in that respect as well."