A member of the Tongan government is threatening to use the military against the strikers in the wake of another attempted arson. Akauola, Governor of Vava'u and chairman of the Cabinet media committee, blamed striking workers for inspiring the vandalism and attempt to burn down a school:
He said a small team of strikers flew into Vava'u the day before and met teachers all afternoon. They instructed students to stay home.
"Then the computers are trashed and someone tries to burn the school down. Coincidence is it?"
Akauola said there were extremist elements in Tongan society, such as deportees from the United States.
If the damage continued the Government was bound to act. Legislation in place included formidable anti-terrorist powers.
Akauola said the Government, while it would be reluctant to come across heavy-handed, had a duty to govern, particularly if life was threatened or people were burned in their homes.
At this stage, I think New Zealand needs to make it clear to the Tongans that there will be diplomatic consequences if they use the military against the Tongan people.The Tongan police should of course arrest and prosecute those responsible for arson and vandalism. But they should not punish those whose only "crime" is to seek a better deal from their government.