China, New Zealand, Australia To Build Tonga Sports Facilities Despite Withdrawal From Games

Papua New Guinea will not continue support

NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, May 18, 2017) – Aid funds from China, New Zealand and Australia to improve and build new sporting facilities in Tonga will be honoured, even though the government has cancelled hosting the 2019 Pacific Games, and Papua New Guinea has pulled its support.

Li Guodong, Second Secretary, at the Chinese Embassy in Tonga told Matangi Tonga today that they had already received notice from the Tonga government of its withdrawal from hosting the games.

“[The] Chinese Embassy will work closely with [the] Tongan Government and discuss related projects,” he said.

China committed $55 million [US$24 million] to build the new Tonga High School Sports Complex last month.

The Tonga High School Sports Complex will include an indoor gymnasium, one outdoor rugby field, four outdoor netball courts, an aquatics center, a lawn bowling field, and supporting facilities surrounding the sporting venues with a total area of 9,180 square metres.

With regards to Teufaiva Stadium, New Zealand’s High Commissioner to Tonga, HE Sarah Walsh comfirmed with Matangi Tonga that New Zealand has provided NZD$1.9 million [US$1.3 million] for the upgrade of the field at the stadium.

“This work has been contracted and has commenced.”

She said the stadium is used for a variety of events and it is “important for domestic and international rugby, athletics and community events, as well as promoting healthy lifestyles”.

“Upcoming rugby matches with Samoa and Fiji in July demonstrate its broader value,” she said.

“New Zealand’s funding to upgrade the field at Teufaiva Stadium supports all of these uses.”

Australia has also committed AUD$2 million [US$1.48 million] to upgrade the water and sanitation facilities at Teufaiva Stadium as a sub-project within the broader Nuku’alofa Urban Sector Development Program (NUDSP).

Australia’s High Commissioner to Tonga, HE Andrew Ford, said Australia’s “funding commitment to NUDSP remains unchanged”.

“We are currently consulting with the Asian Development Bank and the Government of Tonga on the ongoing priority of this sub-project.”

He added that in 2016, Australia advised the Tongan Government their performance linked budget support of AUD$4 million [US$2.96 million] per annum was untied and could be directed towards any government priority, including funding the Pacific Games facilities”.

“Financial commitments to NUDSP and performance linked aid are within the existing budget allocation, and ongoing aid investments, for the Australian aid program to Tonga”, he said.

Matangi Tonga Magazine
Copyright © 2017 Matangi Tonga. All Rights Reserved

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