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Dunne laments Govt inaction over Tonga

Dunne laments Govt inaction over Tonga

United Future leader, Peter Dunne, today quizzed Foreign Affairs Minister, Phil Goff, over the New Zealand Government's attitude towards the state of democracy in Tonga.

Mr Goff admitted the Tongan constitution did not have all the features of a fully-mature democracy, but finally said Tonga was a sovereign state and not subject to direction by New Zealand.

Mr Dunne said "I'm personally disappointed that the Labour-led Government does not take a stronger stand in urging democracy upon Tonga, especially in light of the strong voting support for Labour among Tongans living in New Zealand and because New Zealand gives Tonga more than $5 million a year in overseas aid.

"Just because a nation is a sovereign state does not mean we should ignore gross breaches of the rights of freedom of speech and assembly, as practiced by the Tongan Government," said Mr Dunne.

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