28 Nov 2003

Tonga's acting PM renews criticism of comments by New Zealand MPs

11:24 am on 28 November 2003

Tonga's Acting Prime minster Clive Edwards has accused some New Zealand politicians of being the voice of a new form of colonialism in the Pacific

Mr Edwards was making a further response to criticism of Tonga's political system by New Zealand opposition MP Ken Shirley as a New Zealand parliamentary committee examined relations between the two countries.

The acting prime minister says politics in Tonga will develop gradually in Tonga's own way and in its own time.

He said Mr Shirley's reported comments were a unilateral interference in Tonga;s affairs and against international principles and the conventions of the South Pacific Forum.

Mr Shirley had said Tonga represented a medieval monarchy grafted onto Polynesian nepotism and chieftainship.

Earlier, Mr Edwards had called on the committee chairman Peter Dunne to stop trying to bully or interfere with neighbouring Pacific countries.