8 Aug 2005

New Zealand select committee recommends strengthening ties with Tonga

1:47 pm on 8 August 2005

A parliamentary select committee in New Zealand has rejected calls for New Zealand to take strong action to bring about democratic change in Tonga.

The Foreign Affairs committee has released its report on its inquiry into New Zealand's relationship with Tonga.

The committee is recommending a number of measures to strengthen ties.

They include working alongside the Tongan Government to facilitate gradual change towards a representative democracy by supporting the Tongan judiciary, Legislative Assembly and public service.

The United Future leader Peter Dunne who chairs the committee, says MPs consider the impetus for change must come from within Tonga, and it is not New Zealand's role to force change.