7 Aug 2014

New Zealand gains backing over MA60 sanctions

7:50 pm on 7 August 2014

The head of the Tongan Advisory Council in New Zealand says Tonga's Deputy Prime Minister, Samiu Vaipulu, should stop dodging Wellington's concerns over the safety of the MA60 aircraft it is operating.

Mr Vaipulu has challenged New Zealand's Foreign affairs Minister Murray McCully as to why a travel advisory still exists when a recent World Bank report supposedly cleared the aircraft.

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Photo: RNZ

But Melino Maka says Mr McCully's concerns are fair and it is only reasonable that Tonga complies if it wants New Zealand's support.

"I think that Vaipulu is trying to duck around. I think Samiu Vaipulu is pushing that Tonga is an independant sovereign country, that's fine. But it's also that Tonga is actually happy to take money from McCully but they don't want to take any notice of the concern of New Zealand."

The chair of the Auckland-based Tongan Advisory Council, Melino Maka.

Last year, Murray McCully suspended Tonga's tourism funding when he challenged the certification of the MA60.