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Tonga invites Goddard to mediate on pay dispute

Hon Phil Goff Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade

23 August 2005

Tonga invites Goddard to mediate on pay dispute

Foreign Minister Phil Goff today welcomed the Tongan government's decision to invite recently retired New Zealand Employment Court judge Tom Goddard to mediate in the public sector strike there.

“The strike is now entering its fifth week, imposing significant costs on both strikers and the economy. It is important that a process is put in place to help resolve the issues and reduce tensions in Tongan society.

"Judge Goddard has enormous experience in industrial relations and disputes resolution. His expertise will facilitate the parties being able to address their differences and hopefully to find a resolution.

“I understand that all sides to this dispute have agreed to work with Judge Goddard on how to resolve it,” Mr Goff said.

New Zealand will meet the costs of Judge Goddard and his team. Judge Goddard will be leaving for Tonga shortly to begin discussions with the parties.

ENDS

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