5 Aug 2011

New Zealand put some of its aid to Tonga into country's budget

1:26 pm on 5 August 2011

New Zealand is the first of Tonga's foreign aid donors to commit a sum in budget support, granting nearly two million US dollars as the government works to cover a substantial deficit in its income.

The New Zealand high commissioner, Dr Jonathan Austin, says this money will go towards salaries for front-line police staff and to salaries for teachers working in government schools in the outer islands.

He says Tonga's government had approached aid donors to cover the deficit and New Zealand's happy to oblige.

"The Tonga economy has been struggling with a drop in remittances and the flow on consequences of the global financial crisis, so the new government here faces some real challenges in meeting its budget requirements so that's the reason we are happy to help them out."

New Zealand's high commissioner to Tonga, Dr Jonathan Austin.

He says with money promised by other donors, Australia and the World Bank, the Tonga government believes it will cover the deficit.