26 May 2004

Tonga says New Zealand profits from Tonga links

4:48 pm on 26 May 2004

The Tongan Chief Secretary, Eseta Fusitua, says New Zealand benefits more from Tonga, than the kingdom gets from aid donated by New Zealand.

New Zealand gives Tonga 3.4 million US dollars in annual bi-lateral assistance to the Kingdom.

Mrs Fusitua calculates that New Zealand gets an average of about 49 million US dollars a year from Tonga through various means, including trading between the two countries which she estimates at about 43 million US dollars.

But Mrs Fusitua also says that New Zealand benefits more from Tongan students, medical referrals, and tourists.

She also says most of New Zealand's aid stays in NZ.

Mrs Fusitua says this includes projects by New Zealand companies and organisations, while the rest is directly sent from Wellington to recipients in Tonga and abroad, such as students at the University of the South Pacific and the Fiji School of Medicine.