24 Nov 2010

NZ Green MP Locke says Tonga enthusiastic about election

9:00 am on 24 November 2010

A New Zealand Greens MP, Keith Locke, says there's great enthusiasm in Tonga as the country heads towards a greater level of democracy.

Mr Locke, who has long had links with the pro-democracy movement in Tonga, says it's an historic step having the people elect the majority of MPs.

But he says it won't be the final step since there are still nine nobles elected by the 33 noble families.

"But I think there is great enthusiasm that I noticed in the visit to Tonga a few months back - enthusiasm for the first democratic election. It will still be a bit of a rocky road to get rid of some of the institutions whereby the monarchy has still been controlling certain things and there may be a reluctance to let go completely."

Keith Locke.

He has praised the pro-democracy movement for its efforts over decades to bring about the political change.