28 Jul 2008

Costs of Tonga's coronation questioned again

6:19 am on 28 July 2008

As preparations continue for the coronation of Tonga's new king on Friday, criticism is surfacing over the relevance and cost of the monarchy.

The Coronation of King George Tupou the fifth has an official budget of 3 million US dollars, but estimates now put that closer to 7 and a half million.

But some ordinary people are questioning the spending, especially as some events are by invitation only.

Our Pacific Issues Correspondent Richard Pamatatau is in Tonga

"Amelia Takau, who is now a Canadian citizen, says this coronation seems to be more about the King than the people and she remembers the more simple ceremony when his father was crowned though he also lived a luxurious lifestyle."

Mrs Takau says people may respect the King but they want a monarch who is not extravagant and will work for Tonga.

But the president of the Civil Society Forum of Tonga says the King needs time to settle in then make changes.

Drew Havea says while people are critical about not being able to attend the church coronation they can still participate at the village level.

From Tonga Richard Pamatatau