18 Oct 2004

Tongan MP restates concern about Asian business presence

4:19 pm on 18 October 2004

An MP in Tonga says there should be controls to limit the number of Chinese nationals who live in the kingdom.

Dr Fred Sevele says concern has been expressed at the many Chinese who opened retail outlets in Tonga.

He says locals cannot compete with the Chinese work ethic and the financial backing they have.

Dr Sevele says when Queen Salote was in power there were policies to restrict the number of Asians.

He says they should be re-introduced.

"We don't want to discriminate but at the same time we have got to be realistic. We've only got a certain amount of land, a certain amount of resources and what you don't want to see is what has been happening in other places in the Pacific where the indigenous are being displaced from business activities in which they were formally involved."

The government says there are 690 Chinese in Tonga including 117 overstayers.