13 Mar 2006

NZ foreign minister meets three Tongan ministers

4:52 pm on 13 March 2006

The New Zealand Foreign Minister, Winston Peters, has begun a three-nation Pacific tour, meeting three senior cabinet ministers in Tonga.

He sought their views on the relationship with New Zealand and the priorities for the Kingdom's government.

Koro Vakauta reports from Nuku'alofa.

"Winston Peters met his Tongan counterpart Tu'a Taumoepeau Tupou and the Ministers of Justice and Finance, Siaosi 'Aho and Siosiua 'Utoikamanu. The discussions included the higher priority of seeking tourism investment and labour mobility. Mr Peters says labour mobility is an issue that needs to be looked at once he returns home. Mr Taumoepeau stressed the best people to administer any labour scheme would be people at the village level where peer pressure would encourage compliance. Mr Peters says he was also briefed on the ongoing moves towards democratic change which the three ministers say they support but underline the fact that change must come at the hands of Tongans and not others. Mr Peters will meet the acting prime minister, Fred Sevele, and his royal highness Prince Tu'ipelehake tomorrow."