29 Jun 2015

Forbes payment like throwing money away - Tonga MP

1:42 pm on 29 June 2015

An opposition MP in Tonga says a government payment of US$130,000 for a magazine advertorial will be of no benefit and is like throwing public money out the window.

The caretaker Deputy Prime Minister of Tonga Samiu Vaipulu, is a hopeful for the post of Prime Minister, and is said to have the backing of the nobles.

Samiu Vaipulu Photo: SPREP

The government says it is paying Forbes magazine in return for what it says is unprecedented coverage.

But Samiu Vaipulu says there is no way to really measure return on investment for such a move and the money would be better spent on the neighbouring markets of New Zealand and Australia.

"With transportation we should have competitive fares between those two countries and Tonga and competing with Indonesia and Bail and all those areas but spending all this money there, we should have spent it on where there are the most tourists instead of spending it on something that you never know whether anyone would come."

Mr Vaipulu says the opposition will continue to pursue the issue once parliament resumes in August.

The advertorial used up more than a quarter of the marketing budget for tourism.