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Monday, May 11

Tonga’s Prime Minister to visit New Zealand

Prime Minister John Key says New Zealand’s support for the democratic reform process underway in Tonga will be underlined during the visit to this country of Tongan Prime Minister, Dr Feleti (Fred) Sevele, from 13-19 May.

“Dr Sevele attended school and university in New Zealand and it is with particular pleasure that I welcome his visit.

“We are committed to supporting Tonga’s reform process, and I commend the leadership shown by both Dr Sevele and King George Tupou V.”

New Zealand has contributed $1.5 million through NZAID for the work of the Constitutional and Electoral Commission and the move towards democracy.The Commission will issue an interim report on possible changes to Tonga’s executive and electoral laws next month, with a final report due in November.

Prime Minister Sevele will be officially welcomed at Parliament and will meet with Prime Minister John Key and Foreign Minister Murray McCully. Discussions will also be held on the impact of the global economic crisis on the Pacific, and on Fiji’s suspension from the Pacific Islands Forum

Mr Key says he is also delighted to announce that well-respected Tongan paediatrician Dr Toakase Fakakovikaetau has been named New Zealand’s first Prime Minister’s Fellow for Tonga.

The Fellowship, to promote leadership and ties between the two countries, was established at the King’s Coronation last year.

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