27 Aug 2005

New Zealand minister to meet Tongan strikers in Auckland

7:30 am on 27 August 2005

The New Zealand foreign minister, Phil Goff, will speak at today's meeting between striking members of Tonga's civil service and Auckland's Tongan Community.

The organiser of the meeting, Nalesoni Tupou, says he interprets Mr Goff's decision to attend the meeting as a sign New Zealand wants a better understanding of the situation.

Nalesoni Tupou says the civil servants at the meeting will explain their reasons for the five-week strike, and ask for continued financial and moral support.

Mr Tupou says the Royal Family has not yet responded to his invitation to send a representative to the meeting.

The strikers have refused to participate in New Zealand-funded mediation until the Government agrees to pay the demanded pay increases for the duration of the mediation process.