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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

What Does This Tell You About the Tongan "Democracy Movement"?

Two former Trotskyists, Green MP, Keith Locke and former Progressive MP, Matt Robson, have come out in support of the Tongan "Democracy Movement".

From Scoop.

The New Zealand Government should take note of concerns that the presence of New Zealand troops in Tonga could be seen to strengthen the hand of the monarchy, Green MP Keith Locke warns.

Leaders of Tonga's democracy movement have expressed concerns that Australian and New Zealand troops in Tonga's capital Nuku'alofa could in practice reinforce the political system that caused unrest in the first place. Meanwhile, the New Zealand joint defence force commander in Tonga says troops are likely to increase their presence.

"The most useful contribution New Zealand could make to law and order in Tonga would be to push the King's government to uphold the agreement reached just before the riot broke out for 21 of Tonga's 30 MPs to be democratically elected," Mr Locke says.

"We should also support the democracy movement's call for a new interim government, pending next year's election under new rules. The present government does not have the support of the majority of the people.

"If we take the side of the people, rather than the regime, there will be little need for New Zealand troops to stay. The riot was a result of frustration with the slow pace of change, and is unlikely to be repeated if people see that democracy is truly around the corner,"
Mr Locke says.

From the NZ Herald

New Zealand needs to wholeheartedly back the Tongan democratic movement or face the prospect of continually sending troops to aid a strife-torn neighbour, says former Progressive Party MP Matt Robson.

When in Parliament Mr Robson instigated an inquiry by the foreign affairs and defence committee into New Zealand's relationship with the island kingdom. He has been a constant critic of Tonga's monarchy and an agitator for democratic reform.

Yesterday he said the weekend violence in the Tongan capital Nuku'alofa, in which eight people died, should make New Zealand politicians think again about their dealings with Tonga.

"A drastic reassessment of their relationships with the different governing elites has to take place," Mr Robson said.

"It's time for them to solidly support the move to democracy and not get drawn into a morass of sending soldiers to clean up these situations ... New Zealand has not given help to the people, but to the elites. Now what they're giving is soldiers. What they needed before this was a firm commitment to democracy."

New Zeal Interesting that backing for Tonga's "Democracy Movement" has come from the far left, even before blame for the riots has been established.

Despite strong allegations from Tonga's biggest private sector employer, Mike Jone, that the arsons were at least partially commercially motivated (targeting non supporters of the "Democracy Movement"), both Locke and Robson strongly support this highly dubious movement.

I wonder if Keith Locke and Matt Robson view "democracy" in the same way most people do?

History tells us that any third world movement with the words "democracy" or "democratic" in its name, usually isn't.

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