17 Jun 2013

Tongan academic says defamation action part of ongoing feud

4:51 am on 17 June 2013

A Tongan academic in New Zealand says the latest defamation action in Tonga against the Kele'a newspaper is all part of an ongoing feud between politicians.

Lord Tuivakano and six cabinet ministers won a claim against the newspaper after a letter to the editor published in October 2012 mentioned accusations other Parliamentarians had made against them.

The Justice Minister Clive Edwards was one of the plaintiffs and also appeared as their legal representative.

Dr Malakai Koloamatangi, the Pasifika Director at Massey University in Auckland, says that was a conflict of interest, and this is another chapter in a long feud between Mr Edwards and People's Representative 'Akilisi Pohiva, who is seen as being one with the newspaper.

"It is odd that the Minister for Justice is the lawyer in front of a local judge who is appointed by the ministry. That has to be cleared up. But you know there has always been this long-standing feud between Edwards and Pohiva in the Kele'a so it's part of that long-running saga."

Dr Malakai Koloamatangi.