2 Dec 2011

New Zealand confident of improved accountability of Tonga aid spending

5:58 pm on 2 December 2011

New Zealand's Foreign minister, Murray McCully, says there's a strong commmitment from Tonga's government to ensure improved management of aid funding.

This comes after inquiries into whether more than a quarter of a million US dollars of New Zealand aid funding intended for democracy education had been misappropriated.

An initial Tonga assessment concluded this was possible but a subsequent independent New Zealand study showed no evidence of fraud, though it concluded there was mismanagement.

Mr McCully says changes are in place that will ensure greater accountability.

"I think a number of things have already been done which should leave us significantly better placed, but there is a message here. This is a significant amount of public money that we spend through the aid programme. We need to make sure that the compliance systems and accountability are high and this is a reminder of that."