Samoa PM: We have nothing to hide

Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi has spoken out in support of any monitoring happening in his country, saying Samoa has nothing to hide.

Tuilaepa - known for his controversial statements - slammed the media for sensationalising the issue and said those involved in any intelligence service or system reporting back to their governments were well-trained professionals.

"Samoa doesn't have anything to hide. Our daily lives are an open book. We follow good governance principles of transparency and accountability.

"As the leader of this country, I maintain frank and open lines of communication with all our diplomatic connections. Where there are concerns and problems, I will voice them and when there are benefits or positive outcomes, I will be equally as vocal."

Tuilaepa acknowledged that the matters of a small island nation in the Pacific probably had no significant value to the world's top leaders - including the United States.

"We are not a security risk to any small island nearby and I'm sure the phone conversations by an old matai (chief) and his son in New Zealand for a taulaga (money) envelope will not be of interest to the FBI of the great USA.

"In fact, the diplomats reporting from Samoa would no doubt be sending back information saying we treat them well and we love them - as we love our brothers and our neighbours in Fiji and Tonga."

Tonga's Prime Minister, Akilisi Pohiva, said he wanted to meet the New Zealand High Commissioner about the issue.

Mr Pohiva, who was elected in December last year, said he would also raise the issue in his first meeting with Prime Minister John Key or Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully.

"It means New Zealand breached the trust that has been established between the two countries," he told Radio New Zealand's Checkpoint this evening.

But he also appeared unperturbed by it.

"If New Zealand has good reason to believe it is important for the New Zealand Government to share such information with other partners, with other countries, it is entirely a matter for New Zealand to decide.

"Remember Tonga is small and we have nothing to hide. It may be a serious matter for superpowers."

He did not know why New Zealand's GCSB would be collecting all phone call and email records "but I think other countries, not only New Zealand are doing exactly the same thing".

"It is an internal matter for every country to decide. New Zealand is a sovereign independent country. It is entirely up to them to decide what they should do."



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