13 May 2009

Tonga's prime minister arrives in New Zealand for talks

10:29 am on 13 May 2009

The Tonga Prime Minister, Dr Feleti Sevele, arrives in New Zealand today to hold talks with the Government and to present the annual Pacific Co-operation Foundation address.

The address, to made in Christchurch tomorrow night and again in Wellington next Monday, will be on the topic of Tonga's Foreign Relations: New Zealand and the Pacific.

Dr Sevele is also expected to brief the New Zealand Prime Minister John Key and Foreign Minister Murray McCully, on progress in the democratic reform process which is expected to lead to early elections next year.

New Zealand has contributed nearly a million US dollars to the work of the Constitutional and Electoral Commission which is currently determining the nature of the reform that should be implemented.

Other topics the leaders are expected to discuss include the impact of the global economic crisis on the Pacific, and Fiji's partial suspension from the Pacific Islands Forum.