3 Nov 2010

Monitors to oversee Tonga's election

11:14 am on 3 November 2010

Overseas monitors are to provide external oversight of this month's elections in Tonga.

The Tonga caretaker government has asked a number of countries to assist and the New Zealand High Commissioner in Nuku'alofa, Jonathan Austin, says New Zealand has indicated it's willing to provide six or seven.

He says it's part of the ongoing programme with Australia to help Tonga manage the transition to a more democratic form of government.

Mr Austin says the monitors will be in Tonga before the vote to check arrangements for the poll.

"They'll talk to some of the people involved in running the election and then on election day itself they will go around to various polling booths in the country, just to see that everything is running smoothly there, that people are able to exercise their vote, that the mechanics of the election itself are working OK, and they will then observe the counting of the votes after that too so that the public can be re-assured that there's some external oversight."