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Peters Wraps Up First Official Visit to Tonga

Rt Hon Winston Peters
Minister of Foreign Affairs

14 March 2006
Media Release

Peters Wraps Up First Official Visit to Tonga

Prospects for political and economic reform have been discussed with Acting Prime Minister Fred Sevele during Foreign Minister Winston Peters' first official visit to Tonga.

He said he was pleased to meet the newly appointed Dr Sevele, the first elected People’s Representative to take on this role in Tonga.

“We look forward to working with Dr Sevele in the future, particularly in the context of the Pacific Islands Forum which Tonga will host this year,” Mr Peters said.

New Zealand is contributing $250,000 through NZAID to the National Committee on Political Reform which is to undertake public consultations on reform. The Committee is expected to present recommendations about ways to progress reform later this year.

In Tonga, Mr Peters also met Crown Prince Tupouto’a, and the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Finance and Justice.

“The discussions with Tongan Ministers highlighted that the Government here is responding to popular demands for reform,’’ Mr Peters said.

He also met with a range of civil society representatives to gain the public’s perspective on the reform process.

“ New Zealand believes any reform must be led from within Tonga.

“As a close friend of Tonga’s, New Zealand is keen to be of assistance, but the reform process must be owned by the people of Tonga and their Government,” concluded Mr Peters.


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