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Dunne: Gov-Gen's Tongan visit regrettable


Media Statement For immediate release Tuesday, 1 July, 2003

Dunne: Gov-Gen's Tongan visit regrettable

United Future leader Peter Dunne today said that is was a matter of some regret that the Governor-General, Dame Silvia Cartwright, is to travel to Tonga tomorrow for the 85th birthday celebrations of King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV.

"I only hope that the Governor-General's presence at these celebrations doesn't turn out to be an embarrassment for her and for New Zealand," he said this afternoon.

In recent months, Mr Dunne has led the call for New Zealand to take a serious view of the breaches of the rights of freedom of speech and assembly by the Tongan Government.

"New Zealanders have a long tradition of fighting for democracy and freedom around the globe, and the Tongan situation is in our own backyard.

"Dame Silvia's presence at these celebrations sends all the wrong signals to the Tongan Government and royal family," he said.

Ends.

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