7 Sep 2005

Tonga's business operators say political change needed to create fairer business practices

1:29 pm on 7 September 2005

The newly formed Tongan National Business Association says it is calling for a change in the political structure of the kingdom in the hope that it will create fairer business practices.

The Association was one of the key players in yesterday's march to the palace which called for democratic reform.

The body was created out of frustration from a lack of action from the Chamber of Commerce.

Association vice chair, Peseti Ma'afu, says it is hoped that a democratically elected parliament would implement changes to stop any of the royal family from entering the business arena.

"There is a network in Tonga of businesses owned by royal families and surely they've got a lot of power and basically they get all the cream in Tonga and whoever is attached to it they feel they can survive because they've got somebody behind them to back them up."

The Crown Prince Tupouto'a and Princess Pilolevu Tuita are involved in a number of private businesses including satellite services and the Shoreline electricity company.