Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Tonga attacks democracy again

31 July 2003

Tonga attacks democracy again

The Media Operators law, just passed by Tonga's undemocratic legislative assembly, indicates that Tonga is slipping back into attacking democracy which threatens not only free speech and good governance in that nation but also New Zealand's national interests, says Progressive MP, Matt Robson.

"It is in everyone's interests to promote democracy and good governance in our region because without good governance you can't promote economic development and jobs and without good governance you also can't develop the foundations necessary for safe communities," Matt Robson said.

The new law provides that only newspapers with 80 percent of shareholders living in Tonga and who are Tongan citizens may be published in Tonga. If the King of Tonga tried to impose that on the New Zealand media, he would close most of the media, creating massive unemployment in the industry while severely curtailing avenues for the free expression of ideas.

The Media Operators law is aimed at shutting down the only free publication in Tonga – the Taimi o Tonga (Times of Tonga). Its publisher, Kalafi Moala, lives in Auckland and he also has United States citizenship.

"What is happening in our near-neighbour Tonga is of course a tragedy for that society and in breach of Tonga's own commitments to the international community via its membership of the United Nations and U.N. conventions," Matt Robson said.

"These developments are also against New Zealand's national interests because the slide into dictatorship in Tonga spells political strife in that society.

"It is against New Zealand's interests to have a neighbour in political turmoil because political strife can be exploited by other nations wanting to make mischief in this part of the world. It also means more and more Tongans will join the queue of those wanting to leave the country as refugees from repression. Their first port of call will be New Zealand and other neighbouring states," Matt Robson said.

The continued repression of free speech in Tonga will be an issue at the 34th Pacific Islands Forum to be held in Auckland in mid-August. "One of the aims of the Forum is to promote democracy and good governance in our region because without good governance you can't promote economic development and jobs and you can't develop the foundations necessary for safe communities," Matt Robson said.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Also, Loan Interest: Productivity Commission On Tertiary Education

Key recommendations include better quality control; making it easier for students to transfer between courses; abolishing University Entrance; enabling tertiary institutions to own and control their assets; making it easier for new providers to enter the system; and facilitating more and faster innovation by tertiary education providers... More>>


Higher Payments: Wellington Regional Council Becomes A Living Wage Employer

Councillor Sue Kedgley said she was delighted that the Wellington Regional Council unanimously adopted her motion to become a Living Wage employer, making it the first regional council in New Zealand to do so. More>>


Scoop Images:
Dame Patsy Reddy Sworn In As Governor-General

This morning Dame Patsy Reddy was sworn in as the New Zealand Realm’s 21st Governor-General. The ceremony began with a pōwhiri to welcome Dame Patsy and her husband Sir David Gascoigne to Parliament. More>>


Ruataniwha: DOC, Hawke's Bay Council Developer Take Supreme Court Appeal

The Department of Conservation and Hawke's Bay Regional Investment Company (HBRIC) are appealing to the Supreme Court over a conservation land swap which the Court of Appeal halted. More>>


With NZ's Marama Davidson: Women’s Flotilla Leaves Sicily – Heading For Gaza

Women representing 13 countries spanning five continents began their journey yesterday on Zaytouna-Oliva to the shores of Gaza, which has been under blockade since 2007. On board are a Nobel Peace Laureate, three parliamentarians, a decorated US diplomat, journalists, an Olympic athlete, and a physician. A list of the women with their background can be found here. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Key Style Of Crisis Management

At Monday’s post Cabinet press conference Key was in his finest wide- eyed “Problem? What problem?” mode. No, there wasn’t really a problem that top MPI officials had been at odds with each other over the meaning of the fisheries policy and how that policy should be pursued... More>>


Mt Roskill: Greens Will Not Stand In Likely Post-Goff By-Election

“The Green Party’s priority is changing the Government in 2017, and as part of that we’ve decided that we won’t stand a candidate in the probable Mt Roskill by-election... This decision shows the Memorandum of Understanding between Labour and the Green Party is working." More>>


Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news