The Office of the Legislative Assembly of Tonga wishes to clarify the misleading news regarding Members of Parliament travelling to watch the Mate Ma’a Tonga game against the Kangaroos in Auckland New Zealand this weekend.
Parliament accepted an invitation from Tonga Rugby League for a delegation to join the thousands of Tongans in New Zealand in witnessing the historic game, and to show Parliament’s support to the Mate Ma’a Tonga team. The invitation was adopted through circulation, by collective resolution of Parliament. It was not unilaterally approved by the Deputy Speaker (Lord Tu’ilakepa), nor the Nobles’ Representatives as alleged.
Three parliamentarians Lord Vaha’i (Nobles’ Representative), Hon. Vātau Hui (People’s Representatives), the Lord Speaker, Chief Clerk and two supporting staff will travel to New Zealand to show Parliament’s unwavering support for Mate Ma’a Tonga. Other parliamentarians who are currently on official parliamentary business overseas will join the delegation at Mt Smart Stadium, upon returning through Auckland from official duties. The travel cost for the delegation is nowhere near TOP$80,000, let alone TOP$200,000.
The Lord Speaker, Lord Fakafanua, last week in response to a letter from Tonga Broadcasting Commission (TBC) seeking financial assistance of TOP$20,000.00 in order to broadcast live the test match announced a Parliament’s donation of TOP$10,000.00 from its budget, while government is to match that amount to cover the rights to broadcast.
This joint effort will enable the national broadcaster (TBC) to broadcast the game to every corner of the Kingdom.
The Parliament and the Government are deeply committed to supporting our boys on this historical game - the first time Mate Ma‘a Tonga will play against the world champions Australia.
The Lord Speaker of the Legislative Assembly calls on the nation to stand united in proud support of our boys playing for “MATE MA’A TONGA,” as they take on the mighty Kangaroos this Saturday.