19 Mar 2012

New Zealand Prime Minister pays tribute to Tongan King

1:02 pm on 19 March 2012

The New Zealand Prime Minister, John Key, says his thoughts are with the people of Tonga.

Mr Key says New Zealand has a strong, close and friendly relationship with Tonga, with deep ties at a personal level and frequent contact at all levels of government.

He says the King will be sadly missed by the Tongan community in New Zealand.

Mr Key says he would like to acknowledge the very valuable contribution the King has made in steering Tonga towards democracy and hope this work will continue.

He says the Kind believed that the Monarchy was an instrument of change and can truly be seen as the architect of evolving democracy in Tonga.