10 Apr 2008

New Zealand Cabinet Minister says restrictions on journalists in Tonga are unfortunate

11:17 am on 10 April 2008

New Zealand Cabinet Minister Peter Dunne, who headed a parliamentary select committee looking at this country's relationship with Tonga, says new restrictions on journalists at the state broadcaster are unfortunate.

Mr Dunne says the claims that the change will lead to greater accuracy, balance and right of reply, are wishful thinking.

"I think that it just shows that Tonga has quite a way yet to go in the march to democracy and maybe the best thing that countries such as New Zealand and other neighbours can assist with at this point is in helping Tonga develop good governance arrangements. I think that the Commonwealth I know was involved a few years ago in programmes of that type but clearly we have a way to go yet."