28 Nov 2015

Progress slow in Tonga, a year on from elections

1:35 pm on 28 November 2015

A political scientist and Pasifika Director at Massey University says the Tongan government's inexperience has been a key characteristic, a year after elections there.

Tonga Prime Minister 'Akilisi Pohiva.

Tonga Prime Minister 'Akilisi Pohiva. Photo: RNZ

The 2014 election result brought a government into power headed by long time pro-democracy campaigner 'Akilisi Pohiva, making him the first commoner to be elected to the position.

However the first phase of the government's term has been beset with controversies over women's rights conventions, the education sector, legal challenges and financial difficulties.

Malakai Koloamatangi says the government has also shown a lack of engagement with the people over its first few months which needs to be re-established.

Dr Koloamatangi says the apparent inexperience in government has not helped.

"A lack of inefficiency, like the budget around a clear development programme for example for the economy. The routine government matters are not being organised properly or even promoted by the government. I think the inexperience shows throughout its function."

Massey University's Malakai Koloamatangi

Massey University's Malakai Koloamatangi Photo: Massey University