23 Aug 2005

New Zealand judge coming out of retirement to review Tonga pay claims

8:22 am on 23 August 2005

The Tongan government and the Interim Public Service Association have agreed that New Zealand's retired employment court judge Thomas Goddard can review pay claims of its striking civil servants.

Some 3000 public servants are after pay rises of up to 80 per cent refused so far by the Government and protests have been held outside the Tongan monarch's Auckland house.

Our Pacific Issues Correspondent Richard Pamatatau has more:

"The Honourable Noble Ma'afu, private secretary to the Tongan Monarch says the pay claims need to be compared to other countries in the region."

He says he's pleased both sides have agreed on Chief Judge Goddard to undertake the review.

But he would not say when the process would start but he did add that the King is very concerned about his people.

Four protesters were arrested for disorderly behaviour yesterday when they tried to breach police lines to meet with the King.

This is Richard Pamatatau.