10 Jan 2007

Plans afoot to revamp Tonga's capital

4:29 pm on 10 January 2007

New Zealand and Tongan officials are planning to make Nuku'alofa's central business district bigger and better.

The Tongan minister for transport, Paul Karalus, says town planners from Auckland will arrive this month to help plan rebuilding the area that was destroyed in the November 16 riot.

Mr Karalus says the team wants to create a modern South Pacific city.

"We are particularly keen at first stop to ensure that the infrastructural concerns that were there in the old town can be addressed. We are looking mainly here at things like slope, and therefore stormwater drainage, also the way to handle sewerage from the area, [we are] also looking at roadways and footpaths."

Mr Karalus says the design of the buildings will be determined by building codes.

He says the plan is expected to be completed by March, and construction work should begin in April.