28 Feb 2005

Tonga candidate says King should be paid more to avoid business

8:36 pm on 28 February 2005

A candidate in next month's elections in Tonga wants the royal family paid much more to discourage them from interfering in business.

Lopeti Senituli, who has headed the Pacific Concerns Resource Centre and now is running the Tongan Community Development Trust, is one of 31 candidates for the three popularly elected seats on the main island of Tongatapu.

He says one of the biggest problems the country is facing is the involvement of members of the royal family in business enterprises.

Mr Senituli says he wants King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV to be paid half a million pa'anga or 260,000US dollars a year and the Queen and Crown Prince 130,000 dollars.

"'They should concentrate on being the fonts of political power in the country but leave the economic decision making to those that the Government has set up to do the decision making."

Lopeti Senituli