20 Nov 2019

NZ police called in after death threat to Tongan PM

4:00 pm on 20 November 2019

The chair of the Tonga Advisory Council in Auckland has laid a complaint with New Zealand police following threats to kill Tonga's prime minister.

Pohiva Tu'i'onetoa

Photo: Tonga government

Pohiva Tu'i'onetoa became prime minister last month after the death in September of 'Akilisi Pohiva.

Melino Maka said there had been bitter criticism and threats on social media from members of Mr Pohiva's PTOA party in New Zealand, directed at the new leader and one of his advisers, Etuate Lavulavu.

Mr Maka took action after being approached by upset members of the Tongan community.

It was frightening people got so upset because their political party was no longer in power, he said.

Tonga was still in the early stages of its democracy.

"Lots of their people don't really understand democracy. Democracy is about respect, regardless of whether your party is in power or in the opposition you still have to follow the rule of law.

"You can't just make a statement like that because it's not appropriate, because it upset a lot of members of the Tongan community here in New Zealand."