1 Jul 2008

Tonga told Auckland residence belongs to royal family

3:11 pm on 1 July 2008

Tonga's Prime Minister, Dr. Feleti Sevele, has told Parliament that the royal residence in Auckland, 'Atalanga, is the property of the King, not the people of Tonga.

This follows a question by a People's Representative Akilisi Pohiva amid reports the property was to be sold.

But Dr Sevele says the late Queen Salote had bought the residence, and this has been confirmed to him by the previous owners.

Mr Pohiva says this is the first he has been made aware that 'Atalanga was not owned by the government.

He had asked why money was budgetted for its upkeep, but Dr Sevele says this was because government-sponsored students lived at the residence in line with the wishes of Queen Salote.

He says in addition when the King is in residence at 'Atalanga, it becomes the responsibility of government to provide for the property.