10 Aug 2011

Tonga leader says police chief should be foreigner not a local

4:17 pm on 10 August 2011

The Tonga government has done an about face over the appointment of its police commissioner with the prime minister saying he wants either New Zealand or Australia to supply the next person to fill the role.

The contract of the current commissioner, New Zealander Chris Kelley, has ended with the Tonga government refusing to offer him a two year right of renewal.

Last week the police minister Viliami Latu said it was time for a local to take the post.

Now the prime minister, Lord Tu'ivakano, who's in New Zealand for talks, says they were following due process in not rolling over the contract, but still want a foreigner in charge.

"What I do believe it should be some body from outside and I have asked the prime minister [New Zealand's John Key] and also Australia if they can help in that way, and I think it will uplift the quality of work by the police."