11 Jan 2007

Tonga's government says US$200 million needed to rebuild capital's business district

11:45 am on 11 January 2007

The Tongan government says it will need a budget of about US$200 million dollars to rebuild the capital's central business district area which was destroyed in the last riot.

New Zealand town planners and a group of designers will arrive in Tonga to help plan rebuilding the area.

The Tongan minister for transport Paul Karalus, says they are planning to improve the business district.

He says they will need a substantial budget and support from international donors to rebuild the area.

"It is a bit too early to determine a full value, but we have some figures, some of those are in the region of two-hundred million or even above that. And it is also a little bit dependent on how much of this will be central government, how much will be private sector, how much will be landlord-tenant."

Mr Karalus says the plan is expected to be completed by March, and construction work should begin in April.