14 Mar 2006

Tonga's acting Prime Minister encourages more ministerial level contact with New Zealand

9:06 pm on 14 March 2006

The Acting Prime Minister of Tonga, Dr Feleti Sevele, has stressed the need for Tonga and New Zealand to have regular contact at ministerial level.

Dr Sevele says it was a mistake not to allow the recent New Zealand parliamentary select committee investigating the relationship with Tonga to visit the country.

He says his government has since welcomed the committee's report and recognises there are issues that need ironing out.

Dr Sevele says he hopes more visits, such as the one this week by Foreign Minister Winston Peters, will help to break down any barriers that have developed.

"I think in recent years some of that has been through misunderstanding, some has been through the very personalities of the people that were involved. One or two from Tonga and on the other side there was politicking, and some of it was more personal clashes than on a government to government basis."