7 Jun 2017

Tonga Govt says decision on Pacific Games 'final'

7:24 pm on 7 June 2017

The Pacific Games Council President, Vidhya Lakhan, and its chief executive, Andrew Minogue, were told during a meeting in Nuku'alofa that Tonga will definitely not host the 2019 Games.

The duo met with the prime minister, 'Akilisi Pohiva, and two of his ministers on Monday only to be told the controversial decision announced last month was final.

Mr Pohiva told them his government wanted to focus its resources on more important areas of economic development and that sport was not an urgent priority for them.

Tongan prime minister 'Akilisi Pohiva meets with the Pacific Games Council in 2015.

Tongan prime minister 'Akilisi Pohiva meets with the Pacific Games Council in 2015. Photo: Supplied/Pacific Games Council

This comes despite indications that Tonga was able to meet the costs while the Council had indicated it was ready and able to help out.

The Games Council raised concerns about not being consulted beforehand and the government's unwillingness to negotiate a solution.

They also reminded Mr Pohiva that his government was party to a legally binding contract and that in unilaterally withdrawing from hosting the Games, the Council would consider legal action to seek damages.

The Games executive had already indicated it would select an alternative host nation quickly if the matters with the Tongan government were not fully resolved by 30th June.

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs