8 Aug 2005

NZ criticised for for not taking a stronger stance against Tonga's governance structure

9:37 pm on 8 August 2005

The publisher of a Tongan newspaper has criticised New Zealand for not taking a stronger stance about the way the Pacific kingdom is governed.

A number of recommendations have been made in a foreign affairs select committee report on New Zealand's relationship with Tonga.

One would see the Government working alongside the Tongan authorities to facilitate a gradual change towards a representative democracy for Tonga.

But Kalafi Moala, the publisher of Taimi O Tonga newspaper, says New Zealand should have taken a harder line.

Mr Moala says unless Tonga's political situation is sorted out, the other recommendations in the report, about economy and trade, don't mean a thing.

But the Foreign Affairs Minister, Phil Goff says the select committee has got it right by wanting to work with Tonga, rather than give out orders.