30 Sep 2011

Tonga government says no food shortage issues in northern islands

7:41 am on 30 September 2011

The Tonga government says it hasn't received any indication from its representative on the northern island of Niuafo'ou that islanders are running out of food and other supplies.

This came after local media reports of the Catholic parish priest in Niuafo'ou, Father Pauli Ta'ai, saying food supplies were fast diminishing because of a lack of regularity in inter- island shipping visits.

But the acting prime minister, Samiu Vaipulu, says they haven't been informed of any problems though they intend sending a vessel soon with additional food.

"We have a government representative at Niuafo'ou. There have been no such reports, but I know the priest, he's here [in Nuku'alofa], he's waiting for a boat to take his vehicle to Niua. We are hoping to get another trip, maybe next week, to go over to the Niuas."