12 Jan 2015

Academic says Tonga PM's speech 'strong'

7:32 am on 12 January 2015

A political scientist says Tonga's new Prime Minister has got off to a strong start with his inaugural speech to the nation.

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

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 and outlined his plans to cut government excesses, including official travel.

The director of Massey University's Pasifika Centre, Malakai Koloamatangi, says his speech made a good start to his term in office.

"He has heavy burdens placed on him and people expect a lot more from him than, say, if was another prime minister. So he has to make these strong statements and ensure that his administration starts off on the right foot."

Malakai Koloamatangi says the Prime Minister will face obstacles in his efforts to bring greater transparency and accountability to the Government.