In the picture: Labour Party Leader Hon. Andrew Little surrounded by friends and colleague during His Majesty’s King Tupou VI’s coronation in Tonga. Photo/MP Sua William Sio (Facebook).
New Zealand Labour leader Andrew Little said he was impressed by this month’s coronation in Tonga, but asked why Prime Minister John Key did not attend.
Little was in Tonga as part of a New Zealand delegation that attended the coronation of His Majesty King Tupou VI and Queen Nanasipauʻu.
The Labour Leader said the kingdom was an important bilateral partner and ally that was undergoing significant changes with the transition to more democracy.
“New Zealand leaders needed to be in Nukuʻalofa,” he said.
The New Zealand delegation was led by the Governor General, Lt Gen The Rt Hon Sir Jerry Matepara and the Minister for the Pacific Hon. Sam Lotu Iga.
Little was accompanied by Labour’s Pacific Island Affairs Spokesperson Su’a William Sio and Jenny Latu Salesa.
He acknowledged the support of Tongans for the Labour Party.
“The Tongan people are the fastest growing Pacific group in New Zealand,” he said.
“There are over 60,000 New Zealand Tongans and many are members of the Labour Party.
“Jenny Latu Salesa was born in Tonga and our front bencher Carmel Sepuloni is of Tongan heritage.
“Tongan people make an enormous contribution to Labour and our country.”
Little was echoing concerns by the Tongan community in New Zealand that the Prime Minister did not attend the coronation.
During the celebrations the Chairman of the Tonga Advisory Council in New Zealand, Melino Maka, criticised the Prime Minister for not attending the celebration.
Key did not go to Tonga for the coronation, but instead flew to Samoa to watch the test between the All Blacks and Manu Samoa.
“That doesn’t sound right,” Maka told the Kaniva News radio programme.
The Labour leader said he was impressed by the coronation.
“At the time I was surprised that Tonga could mount such a massive event as the coronation,” the Labour leader told Kaniva News.
“It was an obviously very expensive operation for a small island nation. It was run well and the people of Tonga seemed very happy with the coronation.”
He said he had the opportunity to speak with Crown Prince Tupotoʻa and Prime Minister ʻAkilisi Pohiva while he was in Tonga.
Asked why the Labour Party should form the next government, he said: “New Zealand is facing major challenges that the present Government isn’t facing up to.
“This includes meaningful action on climate change which affects small island nations like Tonga. Labour Governments typically take these issues more seriously and are more effective.”
The main points
- New Zealand Labour leader Andrew Little said he was impressed by this month’s coronation in Tonga, but asked why Prime Minister John Key did not attend.
- “New Zealand leaders needed to be in Nukuʻalofa,” Little said.
- However, Little said he was impressed by the coronation
- He said he had the opportunity to speak with Crown Prince Tupotoʻa and Prime Minister ʻAkilisi Pōhiva while he was in Tonga.
For more information
Comments / Tālanga
Powered by Facebook Comments