14 Mar 2006

Tongan MP says political change needed to boost economy

3:29 pm on 14 March 2006

The Pro-Democracy MP, Akilisi Pohiva, has painted a bleak picture of the Tongan economy to the New Zealand Foreign Minister, Winston Peters.

Mr Pohiva and his fellow People's Representatives met the minister as part of his visit to the kingdom.

Mr Pohiva told Mr Peters the struggle for democratic change was still ongoing despite recent government moves indicating an easing of their policies.

He says the economy is also failing and is a hallmark of a political system that needs to be overhauled.

"There is no sign of any early recovery unless something positive is done to change the direction and to put up a structure which is conducive, most suitable for a positive economic development in our country. There is no way we can improve our economy unless change is done."

Mr Peters also met with democracy advocate and Nobles' Representative, Prince Tu'ipelehake and the Crown Prince Tupouto' a in a previously unscheduled appointment.

Mr Peters will meet the acting prime minister, Dr Feleti Sevele, before he leaves for Samoa tonight.