Subscriber • Opinion

Pacific islands pay the price for high-value drug markets of Australia and NZ

By Jose Sousa-Santos
July 6 2021 - 6:00pm
Australia and New Zealand could be having a more positive influence in Pacific islands like Tonga. Picture: Shutterstock

In 2018 I was sitting at a large table in a meeting room in Nuku'alofa. Its walls were decorated with traditional Tongan mats, carvings, weapons and a large crucifix. Opposite me were two Tongan men, wearing the ubiquitous crisp white shirts with red epaulettes of the Salvation Army, and the ta'ovala, or traditional Tongan mat, around their waists. These two men were on the front line - and some say the only line - of the tide of crystal methamphetamine addiction in Tonga.

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