23 Nov 2006

Tongan MPs welcome King's speech but call for immediate action

7:40 pm on 23 November 2006

A Tongan pro-democracy MP says everyone in the country is waiting for the government to call a meeting to discuss reforms in the kingdom.

King George Tupou V closed parliament with a speech urging the country to unite and rebuild the damage caused by last week's rioting.

Akilisi Pohiva who's a member of the People's National Committee for Political Reform says the king's speech is promising for democracy.

But he has asked both the prime minister and the speaker to call a meeting.

"I think it is about time to call a meeting where all representatives from all parties come together, sit down and start working out what steps to be taking as we move onto the future."

Akilisi Pohiva says New Zealand and Australia have a role to play in the reform process.

Meanwhile, another pro-democracy MP, Clive Edwards, says the king's speech was clever and conciliatory but had nothing about how to achieve his aims.

If they turn around and just [provide] lipservice - love each other, live together, we'll build together - unless and until they provide the framework and the co-operation for people to work together I think that it is a long dream that they are holding.