NZ releases more than $5 million of suspended tourist grant

The New Zealand government has released more than NZ$5 million of tourist funding for Tonga that had been suspended over concerns about Real Tonga airline's use of a controversial Chinese aircraft.

Several Chinese-built MA60s have been involved in accidents.

The aircraft is not licensed for use in New Zealand.

Tonga’s Minister of Tourism, Dr Viliami Latu, said the money came from the NZ$10.5 million grant that was withheld last year.

Dr Latu said the rest of the money would be released in stages.

The release of the money came after New Zealand supported a World Bank-led agreement for a review of land, marine and aviation transport safety in the Pacific Islands.

The New Zealand Government has pledged financial support to implement the recommendations of the review, expected to be completed later this year.

“The New Zealand Government accepts that the World Bank-led process will deliver a sound basis for implementing the tourism development package announced last year and we have agreed to progressively release funding, as appropriate, to support the review and the implementation of its recommendations,” Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully said.

Tonga’s Prime Minister, Lord Tu’ivakano and Dr Latu met Mr McCully on March 5.

Dr Latu reported to the Tongan Parliament early this month that he and the Prime Minister had told Mr McCully there were other aircrafts in Tonga for New Zealanders who did not want to fly on the MA60.

The Minister told the House they signed an agreement with New Zealand for the development of scenic reserves in Tonga and New Zealand had released part of the suspended funds to fund that project.

The suspension of New Zealand funding and a travel advisory to New Zealand tourists about flying on the MA60 have badly affected kingdom’s tourism industry.  

Travel advisory

Vava’u 14 MP Lisiate ‘Akolo asked Dr Latu in Parliament whether New Zealand would lift  its travel advisory.

Dr Latu said Tonga had to meet certain requirements within a particular time before the travel advisory was lifted.   

He told the House the Real Tonga airline had leased a Chinese-built Harbin Y12 aircraft from Vanuatu and there was also a Queen Air to help with domestic services. The number of domestic passengers fell after the New Zealand warning.

The Tourism minister told the House the Y12 and Queen Air had been certified by New Zealand.

The main points

  • New Zealand has released more than NZ$5 million of tourist funding for Tonga that had been suspended over concerns about Real Tonga airline’s use of a controversial Chinese aircraft.
  • Several Chinese-built MA60s have been involved in accidents.
  • Tonga’s Minister of Tourism, Dr Viliami Latu, said the money came from the NZ$10.5 million grant that was withheld last year.
  • Tonga’s tourism industry has been badly affected by the suspension of funding.
  • The New Zealand government’s travel advisory about the MA60 has not been withdrawn.

For more information

‘NZ funding to Tonga cut over Chinese plane’

‘Tongan tourism struggling under weight of NZ withholding funding’

Real Tonga uses leased Queen Air

Real Tonga Harbin Y12

Ongoongo Faka-Tonga / News in Tongan

Kuo tuku ange e Nu’u Sila ha pa’anga ofi ‘i he 5 miliona Nu’u Sila ko e konga ‘ene pa’anga tokoni ki he  takimamata ‘a Tonga ne ta’ofi tu’u tu’unga ‘i he’ene hoha’a ‘i hono fakalele e he kautaha vakapuna Real Tonga ‘a e vakapuna mohu tukuaki’i Siaina.

Kuo lahi ha ngaahi fakatu’utamaki ‘a e kalasi vakapuna MA60. ‘Oku ‘ikai laiseni ‘a e vakapuna ko eni ke ngaue’aki ‘i Nu’u Sila.

Na’e pehe ‘e he Minisita Takimamata ‘a Tonga, Dr Viliami Latu ko e pa’anga ‘eni mei he pa’anga tokoni ‘e $10.5 miliona na’e puke ‘i he ta’u kuo ‘osi.

Nae toe pehe ‘e Dr Latu ko e toenga ‘o e pa’anga ‘e tuku fakakongokonga mai pe. Ka ko ‘ene fakafuofua ko e peseti ‘e 40 ki he 50 ‘o e pa’anga tokoni ni kuo ‘osi tuku ange ia. Ko hono tuku mai ‘eni o e pa’anga hili ia ha poupou’i ‘e Nu’u Sila ha alea ne tataki ‘e he Pangike ‘a Mamani ki hano liviu ‘o e malu ki he fefononga’aki ‘i ‘uta, tahi mo e ‘ataa ‘i he ‘otu motu Pasifiki.

Na’e tukupa ai ‘a e pule’anga Nu’u Sila ha’ane  poupou fakapa’anga ke fakahoko’aki ‘a e ngaahi fokotu’u fakakaukau ki he liviu ko ‘eni ‘a ia ‘oku ‘amanaki ‘e fakakakato he konga ki mui o e ta’u ni.

Na’e pehe ‘e he minisita ki muli ‘a Nuu Sila Murray McCully oku tali ‘e Nu’u Sila ‘a e fakakaukau ko ‘eni ‘oku taki’i ‘e he Pangike ‘a mamani ki he fakalakalaka ‘a e takimamata pea kuo nau loto ke hokohoko atu hono tuku ange fakafe’unga o e pa’anga ke poupou ki he liviu mo e fakahoko ‘a e ngaahi fokotu’utu’u ki ai.

Na’e fakataha ‘a e palemia ‘a Tonga Looti Tu’ivakano pehe ki he Minisita Takimamata mo e minisita ki muli 'a Nu'u Sila ‘i Nu’u Sila ‘i he ‘aho 5 ‘o Ma’asi.

‘I ha lipooti ‘a Dr Latu ki he Fale Alea ‘o Tonga ‘i he konga ki mu’a ‘o e mahina ni naa ne pehe ai ne nau fakaha kia Mr McCully ‘oku ‘i ai pe ‘i Tonga mo e ngaahi vakapuna kehe ke fili mei ai a e kakai Nu’u Sila ‘oku ‘ikai ke nau fie puna i he vakapuna MA60.

Nae fakaha foki ‘e he Minisita ki he Fale kuo nau ‘osi fakamo’oni ki ha aleapau ki hano langa ha ngaahi matanga ‘i Tonga pea kuo ‘osi tuku ange mai ‘e Nu’u Sila ha konga ‘o e pa’anga ne ta’ofi ke fakapa’anga'aki  ‘a e poloseki ko ia.

Na’e uesia kovi e Tatakimamata ‘a Tonga fakatatau ki he lau ‘a Dr Latu koe’uhi ko e ta’ofi ‘e Nu’u Sila ene pa’anga pehe ki he fakatokanga na’a ne tuku mai kau ki he  kau tua Nu’u Sila 'oku fakakaukau folau 'i he  vakapuna MA60.

Fakatokanga ki he kau folau:

Na’e ‘eke ‘e he Fakafofonga Vava’u 14 Lisiate ‘Akolo ‘i Fale Alea kia Dr Latu pe ‘e to’o ‘e Nu’u Sila mo ‘ene fakatokanga na’e fai ki he kau folau’eve’eva. ‘I ha tali ‘a Dr Latu na’a ne pehe  kuo i ai ha ngaahi fiema’u pau ia ke fakakakato ‘i ha taimi pau ki mu’a pea toki to’o ‘e Nu’u Sila ‘ene fakatokanga ki he kau folau. Ka ko e sitepu hoko ia 'oku nau ngaue ki ai.

Na’a ne toe fakaha ki he Fale Alea na’e lisi mai ‘e he Real Tonga ‘a e vakapuna fo’u mei Siaina Harbin Y12 mei Vanuatu pea ‘oku toe ‘i ai pe mo e vakapuna Queen Air ke tokoni ki he fefolau’aki fakalotofonua.

Na’e holo e fika ‘o e kau folau vakapuna hili e fakatokanga ‘a Nu’u Sila. Na’e pehe foki ‘e he minisitaa ki he Fale ko e Y12 mo e Queen Air kuo faka’ataa ia ‘e Nu’u Sila.

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