By Steve Dellar  |  05-21-2018   News
Photo credit: Kenobitx | Dreamstime.com

The Pacific island nation of Tonga, which was named by a New Zealand MP as being one of the key reasons for their country to be overrun with drugs, demands an apology.

Mr Lopeti Senituli, spokesperson for the Tongan prime minister, claims that the discussion started in New Zealand over the weekend borders on racism whilst Tonga was certainly not the “wild west”.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Pacific?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Pacific</a> Islands <a href="https://twitter.com/ForumSEC?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ForumSEC</a> reported these drug trafficking routes in the region with <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Tonga?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Tonga</a> as a transition point.<a href="https://twitter.com/winstonpeters?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@winstonpeters</a>, how is <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NZ?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NZ</a> cooperating with Pacific Island countries to combat transnational crime? <a href="https://t.co/fw7B7YkRT4">https://t.co/fw7B7YkRT4</a></p>&mdash; Teena Brown Pulu (@TeenaBrownPulu) <a href="https://twitter.com/TeenaBrownPulu/status/998417802737283072?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">May 21, 2018</a></blockquote>

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Tonga was named by New Zealand MP Shane Jones as having major issues with drugs, alongside Fiji and French Polynesia as countries that spread illegal substances.

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Mr Senituli said that New Zealand Prime minister Ardern and foreign affairs minister Winston Peters “espoused that we have a common culture and common values…and here is Shane Jones saying we are a failed state.”

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">After almost a century of failed drug prohibition, Shane Jones is blaming Tonga for NZ&#39;s drug problems 🙄 <a href="https://t.co/7KhhxQPpo7">https://t.co/7KhhxQPpo7</a></p>&mdash; Nandor Tanczos (@NandorTanczos) <a href="https://twitter.com/NandorTanczos/status/998338560250953728?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">May 20, 2018</a></blockquote>

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“That’s not a reason to state that the country was a failed state. I think we are a thriving democracy, we have a good prime minister and government in place, and His majesty is at the helm of the country, it it’s a really belittling statement to make of the Kingdom of Tonga.”

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Mr Shane Jones, who is employed as New Zealand’s assistant finance minister, made the blunt comments during a “Pacific reset” forum when discussing substance abuse in the Pacific. He sated: “Many of the problems that we are dealing with here, with P (methamphetamine) and drugs, where do you think that is coming from folks? That is coming from closely failed states in the Pacific.”

“That is the transit route where a lot of this drama is costing good ordinary middle class, upper class, lower class people inordinate pain and fear and anguish.”

“I have extraordinarily high fears about Pacific Island states being used as transit points for mischief and mayhem, eventually making its way to New Zealand.”

The New Zealand Drug Foundation’s director, Mr Ross Bell, admitted that Mr Jones’ words came across as quite harsh, but were not necessarily incorrect: “The issues he raises are very genuine, Pacific islands don’t have a lot of surveillance capability, they don’t have strict border control, so there are a lot of reasons in terms of infrastructure about why the Pacific is vulnerable to the flow of drugs.”

“We shouldn’t be too complacent. If that region is increasingly more important as a drug trafficking and trading route then there are real threats to democracy because of that.”

Source:

https://twitter.com/TeenaBrownPulu/status/998417802737283072

Twitter: #QAnon #debateine #Pentecost #mondaymorning #bbmas #newzealand
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