4 Apr 2017

Tongan PM says no to casino

6:58 am on 4 April 2017

Tonga's Prime Minister has poured cold water on the idea of a casino resort being developed in the country.

'Akilisi Pohiva is in New Zealand visiting workers and companies involved in the Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme.

At a reception in Hawkes Bay Monday night, Mr Pohiva declared there would be no room for casinos in Tonga, according to Kaniva News.

The statement comes after the developers behind plans to build a gaming resort and shopping mall said they were on the verge of fulfilling requirements to move on to the next phase.

The Finance Minister Tevita Lavemaau had also said he was open to looking at the proposals.

However Mr Pohiva said his government would not permit any casino to be built.

Earlier church leaders from the Tongan community in New Zealand had indicated they were planning to hold a protest against the casino proposal this week.

It is currently illegal to gamble in Tonga.

Tongan Prime Minister 'Akilisi Pohiva.

Tongan Prime Minister 'Akilisi Pohiva. Photo: RNZI/Alex Perrottet