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Government sought legal advice for the Acting Speaker’s decision

Radio & TV Tonga, Nuku’alofa, 25/03/2019

The Minister of Police Hon Mateni Tapueluelu told parliament this morning that government has sought legal advice from New Zealand for a judicial review of the Acting Speaker’s decision to refer the controversial bills on amendments to the constitution to the house law committee.

The Acting Speaker, Lord Tu’ilakepa in response, reminded government that they should always be mindful of using tax payer’s money for such purposes.

Lord Tu’ilakepa also informed the house that the formal soft closing of parliament will be held this Thursday.

The Prime Minister and his Deputy were absent from this morning’s session as they were engaged on other official tasks.

The house continued to hear requests from the various constituencies including Ha’apai 13.  Veivosa Taka raised the urgent need of his constituents for water tanks that were supposed to be delivered last year as part of assistance to Cyclone Gita victims.

He said the residents of Ha’apai were not among the blessed who enjoyed the recent heavy rain that covered the kingdom.

The Minister of Finance Hon Pohiva Tu’i’onetoa replied by inviting Taka to a meeting of the Ha’apai Task force to discuss the detail of the water tanks delivery.

The Minister of Fisheries informed the house of the current availability of cheaper tuna for public consumption at 7 and 8 pa’anga per kilograms.  The current price of tuna in the local markets ranges from 12 to 16 pa’anga per kilo.

The house deliberated on the cooperative societies initiative which the Niua 17 representative had expressed his wish to have a cooperative society store set up in Niuatoputapu. The Minister for Trade and Economic Development replied saying they were working on this.

Ha’apai 12 MP elaborated on several issues of concern for his constituency including maintenance of their wharf, and roads among other issues.

Vava’u 16 MP then thanked the House, revealing that government had approved assistance for Leimatu’a’s water supply to improve the standard of the villages’ water due to increasing concerns regarding the spread of typhoid fever in the village.

The Niua 17 MP also thanked the Minister for Trade and Economic Development in regard to his comments that the plans for Niuatoputapu’s society store are underway. He also thanked the Minister for Health for his assistance in delivering a truck to help the constituents in their trash pickup and removal.

The ‘Eua Noble MP then questioned the state of the funds for national sports teams in preparation for the Pacific Games later this year. He emphasized that government had imposed taxes/levies over the past few years aimed at collecting these funds to assist the national sports teams in the Pacific Games.

However, the Finance Minister was unable to provide the exact amount collected from these taxes/levies and the House was adjourned and the Acting Speaker directed the Finance Minister to return with the information queried by the ‘Eua Noble MP for the afternoon session.

© Radio and Television Tonga News