4 Jul 2014

Tonga proposes land swap with Fiji

3:42 pm on 4 July 2014

Tonga is proposing to trade the disputed Minerva reef with Fiji, in exchange for the Lau island group.

The Tongan land minister, Lord Ma'afu, is preparing the prosposal to put to his Fijian counterpart, to settle ownership of the reef.

But an Auckland University indigenous studies expert, Dr Steven Ratuva, says the deal is one-sided and could be seen as a political joke.

He says the deal would benefit Tonga, as the Lau island group composes most of Fiji.

"In terms of sea area you're really talking about more than half of the total sea area in Fiji. So Tonga has a lot to win. It'll probably triple the size of Tonga and reduce the size of Fiji by half."

Steven Ratuva says he can't see the deal going ahead but hopes the matter is resolved diplomatically.