The letter was handed over to the Prime Minister of Tonga, Rev Dr Pōhiva Tuʻiʻonetoa, at an event today Wednesday 9 June.
“This support will help the Government of Tonga respond to specific economic and social impacts of COVID-19, such as, providing financial support and social protection for businesses and households that have experienced economic hardship as a result of the pandemic. It will also assist with the Government of Tonga’s repatriation efforts,” said High Commissioner Babington.
New Zealand is working in partnership with Tonga, as well as other countries in the Pacific, to support their COVID-19 responses and build resilience for the future.
Prime Minister Tu’i’onetoa welcomed New Zealand’s assistance. “On behalf of His Majesty’s Government, I am pleased to express our sincere gratitude to the Prime Minister, the Government and the people of New Zealand, for your continued financial support to the Kingdom of Tonga, which is timely in our response to the ongoing crises of health and climate change. This invaluable assistance will assist in our efforts to respond and meet the unexpected challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said the Prime Minister.
Closing borders and protecting our people has come at a cost to the whole region, and by providing budget support, New Zealand is enabling Pacific governments to respond quickly to their most urgent development priorities, and determine where this is needed most according to their individual circumstances.
This financial support package is in addition to support that has already been provided by New Zealand, including:
- NZ$4 million in budget support for the Government’s COVID-19 stimulus package
- NZ$1.6 million in funding for a new Central Pharmacy Warehouse
- NZ$100,000 from our Emergency High Commission or Embassy Fund to the Ministry of Health for a medical waste collection truck
- NZ$1 million to MoH’s pandemic preparedness and response plan
- NZ$550,000 worth of PPE
- NZ$1 million to support implementation of the WHO Pacific Regional Preparedness and Response Plan
- NZ$1 million to support WHO purchase GeneXpert machines and cartridges which have given Pacific Island countries, including Tonga, COVID-19 testing capability
- New Zealand COVID-19 vaccine support for Polynesia and the Pacific including through COVAX.
Throughout the pandemic, Aotearoa New Zealand is continuing to adapt our economic and health system support to meet country and regional needs.
This contribution to Tonga is made available under the New Zealand Aid Programme’s COVID-19: Pacific financial support package.