NZ, which funds Tonga sporting facility, says hosting 2022 Commonwealth Games too much

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Minister of Pacific Peoples Alfred Ngaro, Prime Minister English and Prime Minister Pohiva. Photo/NZ High Commission Tonga (Facebook)

Just a month after Tonga withdrew from hosting the 2019 Pacific Games, New Zealand has said it has no intention of taking on the next Commonwealth Games because of the amount of infrastructure that would need to be built.

New Zealand, which contributed about NZ$2 million of tax payers’ money to Tonga for the renovation of the Teufaiva stadium, was responding to questions from media after Durban in South Africa was stripped of hosting rights over a trail of missed deadlines and financial problems.

“We have no intention of taking over the 2022 Commonwealth Games,” Sports and Recreation Minister Jonathan Coleman said.

While New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English was in Nuku’alofa last week on a two-day state visit he joined Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pohiva in a ribbon-cutting ceremony to reopen the Teufaiva sports field.

The national stadium was vital for Tonga’s sporting events and the upgrade had been part of a plan for Tonga to host the 2019 Pacific Games and international rugby tests.

Hon. Pohiva said Tonga was not ready to host the Games and the situation was more difficult after PNG confirmed it would not contribute the TP$33 million it had promised to help Tonga hosting the Games.

He said it was not fair for Tonga to host the Games while about 60 percent of its national budget relied heavily on foreign donors like New Zealand.

However, the cancellation of hosting the Pacific Games now hangs in the balance after a petition by people who want Tonga to host the Games was submitted to the king on Friday.

The Pacific Games Council has given Tonga until the end of June to reaffirm its position on the Games.

In a previous interview Hon. Pohiva said he was told by New Zealand former Foreign Minister Murray McCully to be cautious about hosting the Pacific Games 2019.

New Zealand has also helped Tonga fund other projects.

As Kaniva News reported last year, New Zealand and Australia co-funded a multi-million dollar programme for non-government secondary schools in the kingdom.

Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) has contributed TP$30,554,487 (Aus$18.5 million) since 2009 and New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) provided TP$12 million (NZ$9 million) to cover the period 2013 to 2016.

The main points

  • Just a month after Tonga withdrew from hosting the 2019 Pacific Games, New Zealand has said it has no intention of taking on the next Commonwealth Games because of the amount of infrastructure that would need to be built.
  • New Zealand was responding to questions from media after Durban in South Africa was stripped of hosting rights over a failure to deliver on its promises.
  • Tonga’s the cancellation of hosting the Pacific Games now hangs in the balance after a petition by people who want Tonga to host the Games was submitted to the king on Friday.
  • The Pacific Games Council has given Tonga until the end of June to reaffirm its position in on the Games.

For more information 

 Commonwealth Games: Durban stripped of right to hold 2022 Games over financial problems

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