19 May 2006

Tonga prime minister sets agenda for reform

10:18 am on 19 May 2006

The Tongan Prime Minister, Feleti Sevele, on his first official visit to New Zealand, says about a quarter of Tonga's civil service jobs will go.

Dr Sevele told members of Auckland's Tongan community last night at the start of his four day visit, that the country is under tough economic pressure.

He says trimming a thousand civil service jobs is a start of government spending cuts.

Dr Sevele says he wants three years to improve the economy, and political change over time will see less power vested in the Royal Family.

He meets later today with the New Zealand Prime Minister, Helen Clark.