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Parliamentary Select Committee on Transportation to address complaints from Vava’u and the two Niuas

Radio & TV Tonga, Nuku’alofa, 18/09/2018

A Parliamentary Select Committee on Transportation has been set up to work on complaints from the people of Vava’u and the two Niuas about domestic airfares, shipping costs and the cancellation of flights to the two Niuas.

The Parliamentary Select Committee was set up in response to the requests from the Vava’u 16 MP ‘Akosita Lavulavu and other MPs about the needs to address the complaints from the people of Vava’u and the two Niuas.

Lavulavu says the people of Vava’u have raised their concerned about the shipping costs for the Tongan Kava which is $2 pa’anga per kilogram in the MV ‘Otuanga’ofa and $3 pa’anga in the MV Tongiaki.

In response, the Minister of Public Enterprises says that special fees imposed on the shipment of Tongan kava was for safety reasons.

Lavulavu was also concerned about the increase in the airfares to Vava’u which has gone up by $40 pa’anga from last year.

Meanwhile the two Niuas MP Vatau Hui also raised similar concerned.

Hui says once a flight is cancelled for the two Niuas, the domestic air carrier postponed it for a month and this has created dissatisfaction among the passengers.

Meantime, Ha’apai 13 MP Veivosa Taka supported the initiative and highlighted the importance to address the issue.

However, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure Semisi Sika says this has been an ongoing problem and the previous and the current governments have been trying to solve the issue.

During today’s deliberation they passed the establishment of this select Committee and its members.

Meanwhile, Tongatapu 5 MP Losaline Ma’asi took her oath this morning at the Legislative Assembly of Tonga as the Minister of Internal Affairs.

She was appointed to the ministerial position few months ago when the house was still adjourned.

During the deliberation this morning they discussed Amendment Bills that were passed in Parliament in 2014 and was submitted to the Privy Council but further clarification was needed.

However, the Hon. Minister of Justice Vuna Fa’otusia told the House that the Cabinet will respond to what was needed by the Privy Council.

Meanwhile, the deliberations continue to the five other Amendment Bills including Ombudsmen Amendment Bill 2018 among other Bills.

The House approved for all these Amendment Bills to be passed down to the Committee of the Whole House.

Other issues were raised before the house was adjourned for today.

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