8 Aug 2005

New Zealand report on Tonga lacks weight - Tongan publisher

8:22 pm on 8 August 2005

The publisher of the Taimi O Tonga newspaper, Kalafi Moala, says a New Zealand parliamentary report on this country's relationship with Tonga lacks weight.

The new report contains 17 suggestions to improve the relationship, including stronger trade links, assistance given to the Defence Service and that New Zealand ease immigration access.

It suggests Tonga to establish a high commission in New Zealand.

It also advocates working with Tonga to facilitate changes towards greater democracy, but Mr Moala says the report could have applied more direct pressure.

"It seems like New Zealand is trying to stay away from simply saying that we'd love to see Tonga work towards democracy. But it seems to be such a big issue. Why is it so difficult for a democratic government in New Zealand or Australia for that matter, to say we would prefer it if you were to work towards democracy because it's a democratic structure that will help your economy?"

Kalafi Moala, the publisher of Taimi O Tonga.