4 Aug 2016

Tongan PM says NZ and China 'unfair' over MA-60 inaction

12:38 pm on 4 August 2016

The Tongan Prime Minister says New Zealand and China have been unfair in their handling of the dispute over a controversial Tongan plane.

A Chinese-made MA-60 aircraft

A Chinese-made MA-60 aircraft Photo: Supplied

China gifted the MA-60 plane to Tonga in 2012, and New Zealand responded by halting tourism aid funding and discouraging tourists to fly on the plane, which was used for domestic flights.

New Zealand has argued the plane was never properly certified, a point Tongan authorities disagreed on, saying China had guaranteed the type certification.

'Akilisi Pohiva says Tonga doesn't have the technical know-how, but New Zealand and China could easily work together to solve the problem.

"I think the two countries, they are both unfair. They should have tried to resolve this problem last year or the year before last year. It is unfair, to me it is unfair, because it is a matter for New Zealand and Chinese authorities to sit down and discuss the problem."

'Akilisi Pohiva says there was a test flight for the MA-60 last week, but he is unsure of who organised it.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs