29 Mar 2017

Tonga urged to appoint trade commissioner to NZ

7:26 am on 29 March 2017

A community leader in Auckland is urging Tonga's government to appoint a trade commissioner to New Zealand, saying the markets offer a lot of untapped potential.

Melino Maka, who is the chair of the Tongan Advisory Council, said Tonga needs to put more emphasis on strengthening its trade links with New Zealand.

Mr Maka said Tongan growers and exporters have previously attempted to enter the New Zealand market but have needed more support to succeed.

He said the government would be investing in Tonga's long-term economy by appointing a trade commissioner.

"They should for the sake of Tonga's economy but knowing what's come from Tonga at the moment, maybe it's not on their radar," he said.

"But I think they need to understand, for Tonga and also for the economy to grow, it needs to be their number one priority."

"Tonga does not have a high commissioner in New Zealand, only a consulate, so a trade commissioner would play a key role," Mr Maka said.