30 Jul 2013

Tonga MP wants more information about controversial plane

1:19 pm on 30 July 2013

An opposition MP in Tonga says people should be presented with technical information about the country's controversial new aircraft, rather than just political statements that it is safe.

The MA60 plane, gifted by China, went into operation in Tonga this week but New Zealand has suspended tourism aid amid safety concerns about the aircraft.

Dr Sitiveni Halapua says people in Tonga are also worried about whether it is safe and transparency is the best way to deal with the issue, especially with memories of the 2009 Princess Ashika ferry tragedy still fresh.

"A lot of the relevant technical information was made available after the Princess Ashika sank, but we need it beforehand so parliament as well as the people can make informed decisions."

Dr Halapua says it is a public transport and country development issue and the public is entitled to the information.