Tonga asks for community help to turn around drug problem

A two-day meeting in Nuku'alofa last week followed earlier consultations in March this year, and police say it's clear there is a need for a significant shift from a previous reactive approach towards more prevention and rehabilitation.

Police Superintendent Ashley Fua spoke to RNZI after the meeting about the new National Policy on Illicit Drugs and how the police approach is likely to change.

Fua said the Forum Secretariat provided the technical assistance for the consultation and drafting of the policy.

Johnson dominates as Kiwis thrash Tonga

The Kiwis' more accomplished spine dominated the contest on Saturday, much to the disappointment of a bumper crowd predominantly there to support Tonga and hope they could repeat their World Cup boilover of 18 months earlier.

Instead, the home side were too clinical, conjuring six tries to three in a disciplined display which featured an attacking ruthlessness their opponents couldn't match.

Johnson was the spearhead, crossing twice with carbon-copy tries in the 10 minutes before halftime to put his team 16-4 ahead, then adding a third soon after the second-half restart.

Pacific nations to host future Tests in new 10-year rolling calendar

RLIF CEO Nigel Wood confirmed on the eve of Saturday’s opening round of Oceania Cup matches between New Zealand and Tonga at Mt Smart Stadium and Samoa and Papua New Guinea at Leichhardt Oval that the international body wanted to play games in the Pacific islands.

An RLIF meeting in Singapore earlier this month agreed that the Oceania Cup would be staged mid-year and at the end of the season on an annual basis, except in 2021 and 2025 when the World Cup is held.

Tonga’s agriculture, fish exports do well in April 2019

According to the monthly economic review released by the National Reserve Bank of Tonga, agricultural export volumes increased by 330.4 tonnes, more than double the volume in March.

Yams made up majority of the exports with 270.6 tonnes.

Fish exports averaged around 188 tonnes per month since the beginning of 2019 compared to an averare of 67.2 tonnes for the same period in 2018.

Majority of the fish exported are tuna with a total of 164 tonnes exported in April 2019.

There has also been a 97% increase in the export of aquarium products.

Little done in Tonga to rehabilitate drug users

The director of the Mental Health Unit and head psychiatrist, Mapa Puloka, made the comments at a recent workshop.

Dr Puloka said most of those who came to the hospital for help were put into the Mental Health Ward, but staff said ineffective services meant many were not properly cared for.

There were almost weekly arrests of drug dealers, especially for methamphetamine or marijuana offences, and among them are senior Customs officials, who have been instrumental in "clearing" container shipments of drugs coming into Tonga from overseas, Dr Puloka said.

Samoa, Tonga to lose key players for World Cup

The start of the next Top 14 season is set to coincide with the duration of the World Cup, which starts on 20 September with the final set to be held on 2 November.

World Rugby’s regulation nine states that clubs have to release their players to their respective nations for official Test matches, which includes the World Cup.

However, Samoa coach Steve Jackson has reportedly already had a number of his players tell him that they have had to make themselves unavailable for the showpiece tournament.

Tonga police officer completes dog-handling course in NZ

The training is part of the Pacific Detector Dog Programme building capability in the breeding of police dogs and the training of dog handlers in Fiji, Tonga, Samoa and Cook Islands jurisdictions.

Inspector Todd Southall, National Coordinator: Police Dogs, says passing the qualification course is a significant achievement for handlers, no matter if it’s with their first dog or with their tenth.

“Highly trained dogs and handlers have a vital job for us in drugs or firearms and explosives detection work,” he says.

Tongan blindness prevention programme receives recognition

The head of the Trust, Astrid Bonfield met with officials from Tonga's Ministry of Health this week to applaud progress with vision screening and eye treatment for people with diabetes.

Diabetic retinopathy is the fastest growing cause of blindness globally and occurs when poor control of blood sugar levels, high blood pressure and high lipid levels damage the tiny vessels in the retina.

Ophthalmologist, Duke Mataka said about two thirds of those with diabetes will have retinopathy.

Draw made for football competition at Samoa 2019 Pacific Games

Conducted by Football Federation Samoa, the draw used seedings based on FIFA rankings.

In the men's event, six teams had been set to be placed in Group A and five in Group B but due to an mistake on the day, five teams were drawn for Group A and six for Group B.

To rectify this, a straight swap was carried out in the match schedules between the groups.

Group A features hosts Samoa, Tonga, New Zealand under-23s, Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu.

New Caledonia are the top seeds in Group B, alongside American Samoa, Tuvalu, Tahiti, Fiji and Solomon Islands.

New petroleum prices in effect in Tonga for June – July

Wholesale and retail price for petrol and kerosene will decrease by 6.47 seniti/litre and 0.64 seniti/litre.

Diesel prices are almost the same, up by 0.18 seniti/litre.

The change, which came into effect Monday will continue until Monday, 17 June.

A government statement said crude oil price movements were mixed last month with upward pressure in response to escalating tensions in the Middle East and downward pressure from lower economic forecasts due to the US-China tariff war.

The freight rate has reduced.