21 Nov 2006

New Zealand Greens says troops in Tonga can be seen as support of monarchy

5:28 pm on 21 November 2006

New Zealand Green Party MP, Keith Locke, says the government needs to realise that the presence of New Zealand troops in Tonga could be seen to strengthen the hand of the monarchy.

He says the most useful contribution New Zealand could make would be push the King's government to uphold the agreement reached on Thursday to elect 21 of the 30 MPs.

Mr Locke says New Zealand should also support the call for an interim government to be set up.

He says if New Zealand takes the side of the people, rather than the regime, there will be little reason for the troops to stay.

Mr Locke says the riot was a result of frustration with the slow pace of change and is unlikely to be repeated if people see that democracy is just around the corner.