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High Commissioner calls election ‘excellent’

By Tevita Motulalo NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (Taimi Media Network, , 2011) – New Zealand’s (NZ) High Commissioner to Tonga, His Excellency (H.E.) Dr Jonathan Austin has denied statements made by "pro-democracy" Member of Parliament (MP) ‘Akilisi Pohiva that the New Zealand government is unhappy with nomination of a Noble as the Prime Minister of Tonga.

NZ High Commissioner to Tonga, H.E. Dr. Jonathan Austin says his country congratulates the Prime Minister and remains a friend to the new government.

In a phone interview with the Tonga Chronicle, Dr. Austin says there is no such dissatisfaction.

"I haven’t spoken to ‘Akilisi, [but] the position of New Zealand regarding the election is as thought, excellent!" he said.

Pohiva recently stated that the governments of Australia and New Zealand are "unhappy" and "hate" the result of Parliament’s choice of Prime Minister.

"My Minister hasn’t said anything like that to me, so I really don’t know how ‘Akilisi got his information, said Dr Austin. I don’t think it’s any of New Zealand’s business to comment on Tonga’s choice of Prime Minister. That’s Tonga’s choice. It’s in the same way that we don’t like other countries to interfere in the election of our Prime Minister."

Australian High Commissioner to Tonga Thomas Roth is expected to arrive today.

The Acting Head of Mission Judith Hurditch has said any responses to Pohiva’s comments would have to come straight from Canberra.

But Pohiva is adamant he received solid information to back his statements.

"The truth is I cannot disclose my sources, but I will tell you [Australia and New Zealand] looked forward that the Parliament will be democratically elected. They were not, said Pohiva. This noble, who is Prime Minister, is accountable to two groups, the independents and the rest of the Nobles, who are not the people. It’s about accountability and transparency and to know their assistance is used as intended, he continued. [Australia and New Zealand] are not too warm to the choice of Prime Minister. There was hope that there would be change to the leadership, because we’ve known in the past the kind of leadership of these people (nobles)."

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