14 Mar 2018

Tongan businessman hits out against curfew

4:10 pm on 14 March 2018

A Tongan businessman is angry local authorities have extended a curfew around the capital of Nuku'alofa.

Nuku'alofa's main street

Nuku'alofa's main street Photo: RNZ Pacific / Koro Vaka'uta

Last month Tonga was hit by Cyclone Gita and this week prime minister 'Akilisi Pohiva announced an extension of a related state of emergency until 9 April.

Police are also continuing to enforce a curfew, making sure no one is out after 10pm or before 5am.

But Tausinga Taumoefolau, who owns a cafe and an ice cream parlour in the CBD, said the curfew was hurting business and not helping people recover from the cyclone.

"We are already back into normal, us here in the centre of the city, we are back to normal business but because of them extending the curfew, it doesn't help the recovery of us. It doesn't help me at all and it doesn't help my employees as well because they want to make up their hours as well."

Tausinga Taumoefolau said some of his employees were struggling to make ends meet because of the reduction in hours.

"My employees, they are not happy with cutting their hours. They claim that they cannot feed their families, their children. They can't even buy any material to fix their houses, because we are cutting hours back due to the government."

Tausinga Taumoefolau said there was no trouble in town so the curfew wasn't needed.

He said he was about to open a waterfront restaurant before the storm destroyed the building, causing thousands of dollars worth of damage.

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