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NZ helping democratic reform process in Tonga

Hon Murray McCully Minister of Foreign Affairs

11 December 2008

NZ helping democratic reform process in Tonga

New Zealand is committing $1.5 million to supporting the democratic reform process in Tonga, Foreign Minister Murray McCully announced today.

Mr McCully said the money would support the work of the recently established independent Constitutional and Electoral Commission, as well as broader progress towards democratic elections and reform, including public education.

“I would like to congratulate His Majesty King George Tupou V, and Prime Minister Dr Feleti Sevele, for their commitment to bringing reform to Tonga.

“This next phase will mark the culmination of their efforts in supporting reform in Tonga, and we are encouraged by their commitment to the holding of democratic elections in 2010.

“Over the next 10 months the Commission will report on the future parliamentary system in Tonga, and the type of electoral system to be adopted for democratic elections.

“It is important that we assist with what will be a historic move towards a more modern parliamentary democracy in Tonga,” Mr McCully said.

New Zealand’s funding will be delivered over three years through the government’s international development agency, NZAID, and will be matched by a similar payment by the Tongan government.

ENDS

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