13 Aug 2004

Tonga says immigration deal shows ties with New Zealand remain strong

5:08 pm on 13 August 2004

The Secretary of Foreign Affairs in Tonga, Fekita 'Utoikamanu, says the loosening of immigration policy by the New Zealand government shows the two countries' relationship remain strong.

This week the New Zealand government announced changes to its Pacific Access Scheme.

The minimum income for applicants has been lowered and un-filled quota numbers will now carry over to the following year.

Recently the links between the two countries have been rocky after New Zealand launched a select committee inquiry into the relationship.

However Ms 'Utoikamanu says the immigration changes are a positive sign.

"The ties between Tonga and New Zealand are quite strong on a government to government level. We understand that the work of the select committee is separate from the diplomatic relations we have and there have been efforts on both side to maintain and also enhance the relationship between the two countries."

The Secretary of Foreign Affairs in Tonga, Fekita 'Utoikamanu.