23 Jun 2010

Tongan royal pay hike irks NZ-based Tongans

1:34 pm on 23 June 2010

The New Zealand-based Tonga Advisory Council has called on the Tonga Government to explain why the King is to get a huge increase in his annual state allocation.

According to this year's Budget, which is being debated in the Legislative Assembly, King George Tupou the 5th is to receive about 200 percent more this year from the state.

This means an increase to over half a million US dollars, while his allowance for overseas travel has also been doubled.

The Council's Melino Maka says this is a concern for those Tongans overseas who remit money to family back home.

He says there seems to be a disconnect in the message coming from the top.

"The Government needs to explain the reason why they made this. It appears to be a huge amount of allocation to His Majesty. If there is a genuine reason they need to explain or communicate it back to, not only the Tongans in Tonga but the Tongans overseas."