26 Nov 2003

Tongan MP says NZ should examine links with kingdom

11:52 am on 26 November 2003

A leader of the pro-democracy movement in Tonga says New Zealand MPs have a moral duty to scrutinise developments in the kingdom.

Akilisi Pohiva, a Tongan MP, was commenting on the decision by the foreign affairs select committee of the New Zealand Parliament to carry out a review of the relationship between the two countries.

Mr Pohiva says that as a power in the Pacific, and an aid donor, New Zealand should take a close interest in Tongan affairs.

And he says it should particularly scrutinise planned constitutional changes that are set to restrict democracy.

"Tonga should have to seriously consider the basic freedom and the fundamental freedom and rights of the Tongans and I think it is the moral duty of New Zealand to observe what is happening in our country and take action against it."

Tongan MP Akilisi Pohiva.

The Tongan government has made no comment about the New Zealand decision.