27 Feb 2006

Tongan move to link with citizens overseas welcomed

4:35 pm on 27 February 2006

A Tongan community leader in New Zealand says he supports moves in Tonga to develop a new department for Tongans abroad.

The Tongan Cabinet has approved the establishment of a new department to look after the interests and concerns of

Tongans living overseas.

Tonga's acting prime minister, Dr Feleti Sevele, said it was important to maintain links with the community living overseas and acknowledge the contribution they made through remittances.

The chairman of the Tongan Advisory Council, Melino Maka agrees, saying many Tongans abroad welcome the move.

"This is a very positive development and we need to start to look at it in a positive way that will help Tonga move in more transparent way and that's what Tongans in Australia and New Zealand have always been looking for in the past."

The chairman of the Tongan Advisory Council in New Zealand, Melino Maka