Monday 22nd June 2015
10:00 AM

LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY OF TONGA

1 DEVOTION – PEOPLE’S REPRESENTATIVE FOR TONGATAPU 4

2 ROLL CALL

3 REMARKS BY THE SPEAKER

The Acting Speaker welcomed the Members and expressed his gratitude for the work done.

The Nobles’ Representative for Niua asked that the Report that is Agenda Item 6.1 be moved forward so it can be deliberations can ne done so that that Committee can move on with their work. The proposal was supported. The Nobles’ Representative No. 2 for Haápai objected to the proposal as there is a need to continue with the budget. The People’s Representative No.15 suggested that the work carry on according to the agenda and agenda item 6.1 can wait. The Prime Minister supported the proposition made by Representative No. 15 that Agenda Item 6.1 can be referred to later. The Acting Speaker directed that the Agenda will remain as it is and that proceedings will be accordingly.

4 BILL : No.5/2015 – Foreign Exchange Levy Bill 2015

First Reading and passed in a vote of 17/0. Minister of Finance provided clarification of the Bill.

After the second reading the People’s Representative No. 15 moved that it be stood down to the Whole House Committee. Motion was passed and matter stood down.

5 WHOLE HOUSE COMMITTEE
5.1 APPROPIATION BILL 2015/2016 (BILL NO. 3/2015); BUDGET STATEMENT 2015/2016; TONGA STRATEGIC DEVELOPMENT FRAMEWORK 2015 – 2025; CORPORATE

PLAN 2015/2016

Deliberations continues

Vote 19 – Ministry of Infrastructure

People’s Representative No. 12 spoke about page 29, regarding PUMA, as the relevant sections of the relevant Act had been raised during deliberations. PUMA was not factored into the budget of 13/14, 14/15 and it was recently allocated in 15/16 an amount of 1.9m. According to the Act, PUMA fall under the authority of the Minister of Lands but its allocation is under this Vote. The Minister of Infrastructure responded that this is a 2012 Act but there is conflict in the administration and this ia also an attempt to lessen the running around that people will have to do between the authorities. A major part of this Act is yet to be amended to reflect the procedure to accommodate the citizens of the nation. The Nobles’ No.1 Representative for Tongatapu raised his concern over quality control when this merger takes place as the Minister had stated. The Minister assured that quality control will not be affected because of this merger. Nobles’ Representative No.2 for Haápai asked whether the Minister of Infrastructure issues directions regarding the construction of homes. The Government responded that operational has been delegated to the Ministry of Infrastructure but still under the Ministry of Lands.

The Minister of Infrastructure stated that there is an increase in the budget by 200K because part of the aims of the activities will include the outer islands and in support of good governance. There have been seven new staff added onto the Minister’s staff. Nobles’ Representative No.2 for Vavaú asked to break down in details the $228, 900 under the Minister’s Office’s sub programme. The Minister of Finance clarified that it was the Minister’s salary as well as seven other staff members and he set out in detail who the staff are and their salaries.

LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY (2PM)

The Acting Speaker stated that sitting hours for the evening will be announced at 4pm.

WHOLE HOUSE COMMITTEE

Deliberations continues

Vote 19 – Ministry of Infrastructure

People’s Representative No. 12 was concerned over PUMA (National Spatial Authority) and the members deliberated over the Act relating to PUMA and the concern was assessing the work will not be carried out. People’s Representative No.15 proposed that part of Vote 19 which is relevant to PUMA be transferred to the Ministry of Land’s Vote. Page 179, 4 Sub-Program 2, National Spatial Urban Planning), which is 1.9m. The proposal was supported. The Prime Minister asked that some time be given for the work to proceed and that PUMA be left with Vote 19. People’s Representative No.4 stated that the only thing he is concerned with is that the service is effected quickly and its coincides with good governance.

LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY (4PM)

THE HOUSE IS ADJOURNED TO 6PM

6:00 PM

LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY OF TONGA

1 DEVOTION – PEOPLE’S REPRESENTATIVE No.4 of TONGATAPU

2 ROLL CALL

3 REMARKS BY THE SPEAKER OF PARLIAMENT

The Acting Speaker appointed the Nobles’ No.2 Representative for Haápai to preside as Acting Chairman of the Whole House Committee as the Chairman of the Whole House Committee has taken ill.

4 WHOLE HOUSE COMMITTEE
4.1 APPROPIATION BILL 2015/2016 (BILL NO. 3/2015); BUDGET STATEMENT 2015/2016; TONGA STRATEGIC DEVELOPMENT FRAMEWORK 2015 – 2025; CORPORATE

PLAN 2015/2016

Deliberations Continue

Vote 19 – Ministry of Infrastructure

The Nobles’ Representative for Éua stated that he did not support this change for PUMA to be transferred to the Ministry of Infrastructure. Although a delegation of duties by the Minister of Lands is possible, but surely there must have been a need to confirm that this is vested in an independent entity. There is also concern that the funds allocated to this Ministry is excessive. The Prime Minister responded that this is a test for the quickest and most effective way for work to proceed. And if there are any reservations that the funds will be lost, there are plan to have it well monitored. This person is trusted. The Member stated that there seems to be a lot of responsibilities.

The Nobles’ No.1 Representative for Tongatapu submitted that the budget allocation in this vote is 69m but the budget for the road reconstruction is 98m. So this budget then should be 170m. The Minister of Infrastructure responded that working plan for the Ministry is 98m over a 3 year period. The roads will be reconstructed over the coming 3 years as this is a plan for all the roads in Tongatapu. The Noble continued, in page 268 of Vote 19, there are 5 items, only 4 are funded and item 5 there are funds for it in page 280. Item 5 should be erased it for it is misleading the House, it is all nought. Correction from the Minister of Infrastructure in page 265 of the current fiscal year, this item was already nought under the former government. The Noble went on to ask whether this was not noticed at the time of the budget discussion.

The Nobles’ No.1 Representative for Vavaú raised his concern over the nought appearing in the vote as it is not good because this will become an Act. The Minister responded that this is a method used by Finance and it is so that the items remain.

The Nobles’ Representative for Niua asked whether this sub-program is nought or is it the one on page 310 UNDER MEIDECC, which is the Meteorological Unit.

The People’s Representative No.12 asked that PUMA and its budget revert to the Ministry of Lands. The government did not agree with this proposition.

The Nobles’ Representative for Éua asked who authorised the payment from Tourism to Forbes. And who approved the transfer of $80,000 from Internal Affairs to the Éua Development Committee. The Minister of Infrastructure responded that the law approved this payment. It is funds towards marketing Tonga.

The Nobles’ Representative for Éua asked what would be the harm in PUMA reverting to the Ministry of Lands. The Prime Minister responded that to revert will not be approved.

Await for advice from the Solicitor General on the issue relating to this delegation of authority from the Minister of Lands to the Minister of Infrastructure under section 6 of the National Spatial Planning Act and also on the transfer of funds for PUMA to the Ministry of Infrastructure’s Vote.

Received advice from the Solicitor General but it is in English it needs to be translated before being submitted.

Proposition from People’s Representative No. 15 that an Act should be drafted to PUMA to legalise the transferring of PUMA. Also an Act for the transfer of Tourism. And if there is anything else than it should be in a notice of questions. There is also Clause 75 of the Constitution to assess the work.

Advice from Solicitor General dated 22 June 2015 is received and read.

The Prime Minister proposed that Vote 19 be passed.

Ballot and Vote 19 was passed with a vote of 15/2

Vote 20

People’s Representative No.4 stated that in page 6 of the corporate plan it mentions public awareness. There are many applications to clarify matters relating to land and that is part of the ministry’s responsibilities.

The Nobles’ No.1 Representative for Tongatapu stated that there were complaints regarding the administration of the ministry. The Prime Minister stated that these have been ongoing problems for many years now but that the current government be afforded the opportunity to deal with it. They can submit the Land Commission’s Report. The Nobles’ Representative for Éua went on to state the concern is regarding land matters as lawyers are expensive. The People’s Representative No.4 assisted and stated that government should show interest as this is a concern raised by the public. The Nobles’ No.3 Representative for Tongatapu continued regarding Vote 19.

The Nobles’ Representative from Éua raised the powers and legality of someone occupying land. Asked whether the legal size for registration can be decreased to 20 perches as the number in the population is growing. The other matter is natural resources, it is now several years since the granting of mining rights of natural resources but so far no report has been tendered. What is the status of this mining? The Minister of Lands responded that the only reason why Patangata was leased as such was because of the nature of the land, but the House can amend the law so that this decrease to 20 perches is accommodated. The Noble’s No.1 Representative for Tongatapu asked whether the issue over Patangata was ownership? The Minister of Justice responded that the Acting Attorney General advised on the status of the matters that went before the court and that the process was lawful and that there is still legal proceedings regarding the matter.
Vote 23

The People’s Representative No.13 spoke about the radio stations and licensing fees. The Deputy Prime Minister responded that work is being carried out in relation fees to be submitted to Cabinet. The Member went on about the radios in the sea (radios used in voyages) that is inspected by Marine and also inspected by Information, and that is two payments. The Deputy Prime Minister responded that there is work being carried out to monitor these separate payments.

Vote 22

The Nobles’ No.1 Representative for Tongatapu raised his concern over this ministry being reverted to the Ministry of Finance and that might affect this ministry. The Minister of Finance responded that this ministry of still independent and there is an increase in their budget.

Ballot and Votes 15, 16, 17, 18, 20, 21, 22, 23 were all passed 16/1

LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY (11:54PM)

THE HOUSE IS ADJOURNED TO 10AM, TUESDAY 23RD JUNE.

 

Go to top