25 Jun 2014

Tonga travel advisory stays - Jones

10:17 am on 25 June 2014

New Zealand's Pacific Economic Ambassador, Shane Jones, says New Zealand is keeping a travel advisory for Tonga over safety concerns.

The New Zealand foreign minister Murray McCully froze tourism funding for Tonga when he challenged the proper certification of the MA60 aircraft, but a new transport review from the World Bank makes no reference to the plane.

The report says it has "some concern" over the airworthiness of registered aircraft and recommends Tonga work with the International Civil Aviation Authority.

A New Zealand aviation inspector, Peter Williams, has issued a report saying the plane was properly validated according to ICAO guidelines.

Shane Jones says New Zealand's Prime Minister John Key, who was recently in Tonga, and Mr McCully are yet to be convinced.

"There are genuine safety issues around the aircraft, from the perspective of Prime Minister Key and Minister McCully and at the end of the day they are going to have to make that call but I don't think any of us, well I speak for myself, I haven't seen the World Bank report."

New Zealand's Pacific Economic Ambassador, Shane Jones.