11 Dec 2008

NZ announces funding for Tonga's democratic reform process

3:04 pm on 11 December 2008

New Zealand's Foreign Minister has announced the government will commit more than 800,000 US dollars to support the democratic reform process in Tonga.

Murray McCully says the money will support the work of the recently established independent Constitutional and Electoral Commission, as well as broader progress towards democratic elections and reform, including public education.

Mr McCully says he's encouraged by the commitment of Tonga's King and Prime Minister to holding democratic elections in 2010.

He says it's important to assist over the next 10 months as the Commission reports on the future parliamentary system in Tonga, and the type of electoral system to be adopted for democratic elections.

New Zealand's funding will be delivered over three years through the government's international development agency, NZAID, and will be matched by a similar payment by the Tongan government.