1 Apr 2005

Tonga willing to reconsider ban on NZ journalist

3:16 pm on 1 April 2005

The Tongan government has indicated it could reconsider its long-standing ban on New Zealand journalist Mike Field.

The acting secretary to cabinet, Paula Ma'u, says the government is expecting to receive a letter from the Tonga Media Council, requesting the ban on his visits be lifted.

Mr Field was first banned from entering the country in the mid 1990's and it was reconfirmed by the government just prior to this year's general election.

The Pacific Islands News Association says its convention in Nuku'alofa in October will go ahead despite this week's calls for a media boycott over Mr Field's ban.

Mr Ma'u says the government may drop the ban.

"That's a possibility but we haven't received the letter yet. We'll talk to the media council about it, we'll discuss it, and probably we'll find a decision after that."

Mr Ma'u could not say why immigration officials denied Mr Field entry this year.