Tongan King dissolves parliament

In an unprecedented move, Tonga's King George Tupou the sixth has dismissed the country's Prime Minister and dissolved parliament.

It's the first time the country's Monarch has exercised such powers, and follows mounting pressure on Prime Minister Akilisi Pohiva.

It's left this fledgling democracy in political turmoil.

"There might be some instability - the King is still commander in chief of the armed forces - maybe there is a role for New Zealand and Australia to play in resolving issues and allowing fresh elections," says Massey University pacific research and policy centre Professor Malakai Koloamatangi.

The decision by the King to step in follows a concerted effort by the country's Nobles to have Mr Pohiva pushed out.

Mr Pohiva is a long time pro-democracy campaigner and the first commoner to be elected as Prime Minister.

But his leadership has been dogged by claims of nepotism, incompetence, and financial mismanagement, including appointing his son as his private secretary.

Mr Pohiva also faced stern criticism for cancelling the Pacific games, which Tonga was to host in 2019.

In a statement, New Zealand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs says it is monitoring the situation and hopes the situation in Tonga will remain calm.

The King has the power to dismiss the government but there's now huge uncertainly about what lies ahead.