13 Mar 2006

Tonga assured that New Zealand won't be pushing its agenda over progress to democracy

9:02 pm on 13 March 2006

The New Zealand Foreign Minister has reassured the Tongan government that New Zealand won't be pushing for democratic change at a faster pace than is currently occuring.

Winston Peters has met with three Tongan cabinet ministers this week, who have given him their perspective on moves towards a more democratic political system.

The Justice Minister, Siaosi 'Aho, says he agrees that democratic change is needed but it needs to be thought through.

Mr Peters says he has told the Tongan government New Zealand won't be pushing its own agenda when it comes to democracy.

"The evolving shape of Tonga's Constitution, of Tonga's political system, is at the end of any debate for the Tongan people to decide. And I did acknowledge that."

Mr Peters meets the acting prime minister, Dr Feleti Sevele, tomorrow.