12 Jan 2015

Tonga's PM outlines plan to 'rebuild nation'

6:27 am on 12 January 2015

Tonga's new Prime Minister has outlined his vision for the country, saying the weight of the responsibility to rebuild the nation is a heavy one.

'Akilisi Pohiva, who was elected last month, is the first commoner to be elected as prime minister.

Democratic Party leader Akilisi Pohiva.

Democratic Party leader Akilisi Pohiva. Photo: RNZ / John Barr

In his inaugural speech to the civil service and the nation on Friday, Mr Pohiva said he is humbled by the enormity of the task ahead.

He said the Government is in a critical financial condition, exacerbated by debt, which will have to be managed by future generations if not dealt with now.

Mr Pohiva said people in Tonga live in dire social and economic circumstances and the basic needs for livelihood could barely be met.

He said Tonga must live within its means and any Government excesses would be cut.

The Prime Minister has called for a government of high moral fibre and said he would strive for justice, transparency and accountability.