Wednesday, 25th September, 2013
A public explanation of Tonga’s economic and business agenda
Tongan politicians and local Tongan business leaders met with Auckland community and business leaders recently at ‘Doing Business in Tonga,’ an event co-hosted by the NZ Tongan Business Council, AUT’s School of Law and Auckland Chamber of Commerce.
After the official welcome from Daleki Finau, a Tongan leader based at AUT, Tongan Minister of Finance the Hon Lisiate Akolo outlined his government’s economic plans to the assembled gathering.
Fuimaono Tuiasau, International Manager at ACOC, said that Akolo may be the first of the Pacific Finance Ministers’ to divulge economic plans to a New Zealand business and community audience. Tuiasau affirmed that Tongan and NZ business and trade relationships have been developing over many decades - there was practical assistance from New Zealand to improve the trade imbalance that favoured New Zealand by 10 to 1.
“As a world leader, New Zealand can offer Tonga support in its development programme particularly around governance and management,” Tuisau said.
The Hon Lisiate Akolo outlined the investment incentives and government policies being developed to ensure the Tongan market place was investment-friendly. To make Tonga more self-sufficient, Akolo explained that the government was undertaking an extensive programme of business and trade activity, law and tax reforms and the formation of a range of business-focused forums to address particular issues in parts of Tonga’s productive sectors.
There was also a discussion on the upcoming general elections in Tonga, which addressed the progress of electoral reforms and the democratic pressures on a modern monarchy.
Jennifer Boggiss of Heilala Vanilla followed the Minister and gave a spirited address on the business success of the brand, and the potential for vanilla, in the international market.
Formalities were concluded by Rachel Afeaki,Chair of the NZTBC who encouraged NZ business leaders to network with important business connections. AUT’s Agnes Naere and Deputy Vice Chancellor Prof. Rob Allen expressed their thanks and appreciation that AUT, with Auckland Chamber of Commerce and NZTBC, were able to host the Hon Minister and Tonga business leaders and help build practical connections with the Tonga-focused business community.