25 Jan 2014

NZ promises extra $370,000 for Tonga

9:27 am on 25 January 2014

The New Zealand Government has promised an extra $370,000 in aid for the cyclone-hit Tongan islands of Ha'apai.

One person was killed thousands left homeless when the category 5 storm battered the Pacific nation including the northern group of islands from 11 January.

Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully said on Friday the extra aid includes six technicians to help repair the electricity network, and tools and tractors to speed up the replanting of damaged crops.

Mr McCully said crops were severely damaged in the cyclone and quick replanting is essential to prevent food shortages and promote trade.

The additional aid brings New Zealand's support for the cyclone response to $2.27 million.

Labour's Pacific Islands spokesperson Su'a William Sio is asking why the additional support has taken so long to be offered, and says the amount just sounds small compared with the huge need in Tonga.