21 Nov 2005

Tongan committee awaits Commonwealth response to political reform funding request

3:39 pm on 21 November 2005

The chairman of Tonga's Select Committee on Political Reform says the government will be seeking nearly 200,000 US dollars for its report into the process of political change.

Prince Tu'ipelehake says the Privy Council officially requested financial assistance from the Commonwealth Secretariat at the weekend and is now awaiting a response.

The Prince says it was always expected that the Committee's work would be funded by an overseas body.

"Given government's attitude at the time towards government reform it would of course plead poverty. And to go around that I had suggested the funding should be sought from an overseas source. And that is what has happened and we welcome the assistance from the Commonwealth secretariat."

Prince Tu'ipelehake says the royal family has also given him an assurance that all nobles and government ministers will cooperate with the committee following concerns they were not helping the process.