TUESDAY 23rd JUNE 2015
10:00AM

LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY OF TONGA

1. DEVOTION

2. ROLL CALL

3. REMARKS BY THE SPEAKER OF PARLIAMENT

The Acting Speaker thanked the Members for all the work completed.
Called on 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 is ill.

4. WHOLE HOUSE COMMITTEE
4.1 BILL NO.04/2015: PUBLIC SERVICE (AMENDMENT) ACT 2015 AND A LETTER FROM THE HONOURABLE PRIME MINISTER REGARDING THE MNISTRY OF TOURISM

VOTED ON AND PASSED WITHOUT ANY AMENDMENTS 13/0.

4.2 BILL NO. 05/2015: FOREIGN EXCHANGE LEVY BILL 2015

The People’s Representative No.15 asked whether such a levy could be imposed to control the interest on loans, to decrease it. The deliberations continued.

Raised during the deliberations if the sports could be stopped as it will be a burden for the nation. The Minister of Internal Affairs stated that he was in support of the sports being hosted by Tonga.

VOTED AND PASSED WITHOUT ANY AMENDMENTS. 18/1

4.3 GOVERNMENT MAKES PAYMENT TO FORBES MAGAZINE

The Minister of Finance clarified that no money has been paid to the said company. Work is still in the process to confirm the terms and conditions of the agreement and then payment will be made. The purpose was to have the Prime Minister interviewed and to advertise tourism in Tonga.

The Nobles’ Representative for Niua asked if a copy of the agreement can be made available. The Minister of Finance responded that this will be reported in the Ministry of Tourism’s Annual Plan if payment will be made. Asked to let Government deal with it.

People’s Representative raised his concern that confirmation should be made that this is indeed FORBES.

Minister of Finance stated again that payment is yet to be made and work is being carried out to make confirmation and once that is confirmed then payment will be made. If payment will be made then it will be reflected in the Ministry of Tourism’s Annual Report.

LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY

Report from the Chairman of the Whole House Committee.

Appropriation Bill 2015/2016 (Act No.3/2015). Passed without any amendments to the Proposed Budget but there were amendments to the Budget Statement.

Bill No.04/2015 : PUBLIC SERVICE (AMENDMENT) ACT 2015. Passed without any amendments.

Prime Minister’s letter regarding the Ministry of Tourism. Passed without any amendments.

Bill No.5/2015 : FOREIGN EXCHANGE LEVY ACT. Passed without any amendments.

Report No.04/2015 : Standing Committee on Privilege

• Petition No.3/2015 (Regarding social welfare benefit). Passed that it be left in the current system as proposed by the Minister of Finance
• Petition No.4/2015 (Regarding the salary of District Officers and Town Officers and to set up a pension scheme to them). Passed for Government and Remuneration Authority to deal with it.
• Petition No.6/2015 (Regarding the Squash Exporters there is a need to allow them to participate in the government loan scheme for growers). Passed that the response by the Minister of Finance should be noted in that an understanding with this Squash Exporter regarding the matter – Squash exporting and loan from the growers’ fund.
• Petition No.8/2015 (Regarding a need for a dialysis unit) Passed that it should be referred to Government and the Ministry of Health to deal with.
Report No.05/2015: Standing Committee on Privilege
• Petition No.09/2015 (Regarding Funds to be allocated to improve Tourism). Passed to let Government deal with it.
• Petition No.11/2015 (Regarding an application for loan funds for the women of Haápai). Passed that the remarks by the Minister of Finance should be noted in that there is funds in the budget that can accommodate this loan.

The Acting Speaker thanked the Chairman of the Whole House Committee. The Assembly also noted that it was passed to exempt mutton from duty.
Appropriation Bill 2015/2016

SECOND READING OF THIS BILL WITH AMENDMENTS VOTED ON AND IT WAS PASSED 19/0.

THIRD READING OF THIS BILL.

THIRD READING OF THIS BILL WITH AMENDMENTS WAS VOTED ON AND PASSED. 19/0.

Bill No. 04/2015: PUBLIC SERVICE (AMENDMENT) ACT 2015

THE SECOND READING OF THIS BILL WAS VOTED ON AND PASSED. 17/0.

THIRD READING OF THIS BILL.

THIRD READING OF THIS BILL WAS VOTED ON AND PASSED. 18/0.

The Prime Minister’s letter regarding the Ministry of Tourism was Passed.

Bill No. 05/2015: FOREIGN EXCHANGE LEVY ACT

SECOND READING OF THIS BILL WAS VOTED ON AND PASSED. 15/1.

THIRD READING OF THIS BILL.

THIRD READING OF THIS BILL WAS VOTED ON AND PASSED. 16/1.

Tonga Audit Office Draft Annual Plan 2015/2016. VOTED ON AND PASSED. 15/0.

Report No. 04/2015: Standing Committee on Privilege. VOTED ON AND PASSED TOGETHER WITH INSTRUCTIONS ON THE PETITIONS AS FOLLOWS [19/0]:
• Petition No.3/2015 (Regarding social welfare benefits) VOTED ON to remain in the current system as proposed by the Minister of Finance.
• Petition No.4/2015 (Regarding the salary for District and Town Officers and for a pension scheme to be set up). VOTED ON for the matter to be referred to Government and the Remuneration Authority to deal with.
• Petition No.6/2015 (Regarding the squash exporters and the need to allow them to participate in the loaning from the government’s growers’ funds). VOTED ON to note the remarks by the Minister of Finance that there is already an understanding with the squash exporters regarding the matter – Squash Export and Growers’ Loan Funds.
• Petition No.8/2015 (Regarding a need for a dialysis unit). VOTED ON to have the matter referred to the Ministry of Health and Government to deal with it.
Report No. 05/2015: Standing Committee on Privilege. VOTED ON AND PASSED WITH AMENDMENTS TO THE PETITIONS AS FOLLOWS [17/0]:
• Petition No.9/2015 (Regarding Funds allocated to improve Tourism). VOTED ON and Passed that the matter be referred to Government to deal with it.
• Petition No.11/2015 (Regarding an application to have funds allocated so that the women of Haápai could loan from). VOTED ON and Passed to note the remarks from the Minister of Finance that there is already funds in the Budget that this loan funds could be drawn from.
Payment of funds to FORBES Magazine. Remarks from the Minister of Finance is noted that funds is yet to be paid and government is still in the process of having the matter confirmed and then payment will be considered.

5. MISCELLANEOUS:

5.1 Appointment of the Auditor General

Appointment read out.

The Minister of Police moved to amend the Auditor General’s contract. (1) extension for one year to be amended to read as extension for one term. (2) remove the last sentence in 2.2.

SEFITA TANGI WAS VOTED AS AUDITOR GENERAL. PASSED WITH AMENDMENST TO HIS CONTRACT. 19/0.
5.2 Report No.2/2015 Standing Committee on Legislation. Voted on and passed 15/0.
5.3 Report No.6/2015 Standing Committee on Privilege.

Noted the work carried out on the Code of Conduct. The Nobles’ No.1 Representative for Tongatapu whether this is based on Tongan culture or British culture.
Petition No.12/2015 (regarding application from Haápai extend the period for the harvesting of sea cucumbers for a further 4 months). The Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries stated that this application cannot be approved. The two Representatives from Haápai continued to make applications. The Prime Minister asked that the matter be referred to them to deal with. People’s Representative No.13 revoked his application to government regarding the sea cucumbers.

VOTED ON THE RECOMMENDATION OF THE REPORT AND IT WAS PASSED. 17/0.

5.4 Parliamentary Visit
Parliamentary Visit will proceed on the 13th to 24th of July 2015. The Clerk will circulate the details of the meetings that are to take place after confirmation from each Member.

The Prime Minister thanked the work that has been carried out.

PARLIAMENT IS ADJOURNED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE (6:05PM).

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