The civil servants strike in Tonga has entered its sixth week with no resolution in site.
The strike is destabilising the Pacific nation, which is one of the world's last feudal kingdoms.
According to reports from Tonga, anywhere between 1,000 and 3,000 civil servants, who earn as little as the equivalent of $30 a week, are striking for 60% to 80% pay rises.
The stoppage has highlighted injustices in the feudal system in Tonga, where the king's family and aristocratic nobles live grandly and their commoners live in poverty.
There have been violent protests in Nuku'alofa with four official cars set alight, houses belonging to the royal family have been burned down, school classrooms wrecked and hundreds of people have been arrested.
Last week an unoccupied house owned by the king burned down and now police in Tonga are investigating another spate of suspicious fires.
A tax department building and two homes - one owned by the Crown Prince and one by a business partner - have suffered damage.
The Crown Prince has evacuated some of his family from the island kingdom.
The Commonwealth Secretary-General arrived in Tonga on Tuesday morning but his office says it is not his intention to become involved in the pay dispute.
The visit is being read by the striking public servants as an encouraging development but a spokesperson from the Commonwealth secretariat says McKinnon is not there to address the strike.
He says McKinnon is there to talk about issues of concern in the Pacific such as trade, finance, security and terrorism.
McKinnon will also visit Samoa and New Zealand to discuss issues concerning the region.
The spokesperson says the talks are in preparation for the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Malta in November.
New Zealand has become embroiled in the strike due to its close ties to the Pacific kingdom.
There are 40,000 expatriate Tongans living in Auckland and many have rallied to support the striking workers through protest.
About 70 protesters and police scuffled outside the Auckland residence of the King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV last Monday after he twice refused to meet with demonstrators.
One woman was arrested.
The workers are not being paid while they are on strike and many other businesses are suffering. Tongans in Auckland are also supporting those hit by the debilitating strike by sending money and supplies.
Auckland based Tongan Angus Naupoto is organising a collection of donated goods.
He says there is a lot of support from the local Tongan community, with a delegate returning to Tonga on Monday with $NZ11,000 that has already been collected.
People are also sending money back to their own families
"They are struggling to raise their families over here, but at the same time the family ties for the Tongan people is really strong," Naupoto told TVNZs Breakfast programme.
Food donations are also being sought.
New Zealand has also become involved in the strike at a government level.
Foreign Minister Phil Goff told a meeting of Tongans in Auckland at the weekend that New Zealand supports a peaceful process of reform and adoption of a fully democratic system in Tonga. But said it is something the people of Tonga and its government must determine for themselves.
A New Zealand delegation led by a retired judge went to Tonga late last week to mediate talks between the workers and the government, but returned to New Zealand on the weekend after they failed to negotiate an end to the strike.
Accusations were made against the Tongan government that it tried to influence the leader of the mediation team, retired judge Tom Goddard, before it even went to Tonga.
But the Tongan government has rejected that claim saying the government would never impose its view on the mediation team and it is a shame talks broke down.
Australia has also attempted to help Tonga resolve the strike, but have been rebuffed by the workers' representatives.
"We've made the offer to the strike committee and it's indicated it doesn't wish to pursue mediation efforts at this stage," an Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokesman said.
"We have obviously been speaking to the Tongan government to receive their request but at this stage it's not accepted by the strike committee."
The strike committee wants its demand of a 60 to 80% pay rise to be met on an interim basis before it will take part in mediation.
It is also demanding political reforms in Tonga.
The New Zealand mediation team said the strikers' demands for political changes in the absolute monarchy had made it more than an industrial dispute.
Strike leader Finau Tutone said the workers had tried to avoid seeking a political solution but had been forced to do so, demanding a cabinet of elected representatives rather than royal appointees.
"(The government) did not show any respect to us so we had to fall back to the political situation," Tutone said.
"There is a need for political renovation in order for the government in the future to listen to the people."