8 Mar 2018

Checks, balances will secure Tonga aid spend - Peters

3:50 pm on 8 March 2018

Minister of foreign affairs Winston Peters has dismissed arguments $10 million of aid for Tonga after Cyclone Gita will not be used in the right way.

24/01/13. Photo Diego Opatowski / RNZ. New Zealand First leader Winston Peters at Ratana celebrations.

24/01/13. Photo Diego Opatowski / RNZ. New Zealand First leader Winston Peters at Ratana celebrations. Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

Tongans have taken to social media to thank New Zealand for the money but have also raised questions about how and where it will be spent.

One person said it would fall into corrupt hands and there would soon be headlines about missing money.

Others feared it would be used to pay the debts Tonga owed to China.

Mr Peters, who visited Tonga yesterday with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, said it was impossible for the money to be spent inappropriately because there were checks and balances in place.

He said the $10m could be broken down into its different parts.

"For the electricity repair with the greatest speed possible, the second is for a range of projects as highlighted by the Tongan government as to where the funding is needed and if you look around here there is plenty of examples of how that will be required."

Mr Peters said yesterday the funding would also be focused on policing, justice and education.

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