Summary of Deliberations in the Legislative Assembly of Tonga
Wednesday 21st October 2015
After the Lord’s prayer and Roll Call the Minister of Infrastructure and Tourism was allowed the opportunity to report on his trip to Japan and Tahiti. The Minister stated that he and the Tahiti’s Minister agreed to set up a new route that would include Tonga and using Air Tahiti. He also stated that a delegation will travel to Tonga in January to carry out dialogue with government if this new route can be set up. He also stated that other doors are open for us to use other airlines in the Pacific such as Air New Guinea, Fiji Air and Talofa Air.
In the meeting is Japan, it was clear that most of the tourists from Japan travel to Palau and also suggested that Japan be included in the market for Tonga. There were many proposals and projects as aid from Japan such as the Fa Ua Wharf and also look into a bridge from Popua to Folaha.
The Speaker asked the Minister if a written copy of his report could be made available to the office library. The Prime Minister spoke about the differences in the Ministry of Education. He stated that on the 8th of September he had informed that the standard of education was low but today many have come forward to state that is wrong. But he reiterated that the standard of education has dropped and also asked if experts in education could come forward to hold discussions.
The Speaker stated that maybe he and his ministry could discuss that amongst themselves. The Prime Minister went on about his statement at the UN and his statement about West Papua.
The Nobles’ Representative No. 1 for Tongatapu raised his concern about the Prime Minister’s statement and his use of the name West Papua when the proper tern is Irian Jaya and his statement may have caused problems in international relations and that we call our neighbouring countries and all other countries our allies and friends.
The Minister of Revenue reported that the Y12 plane flew from Éua on one propeller but all was well, and the ministry and the company are dealing with it but warnings should be taken into account.
The Minister of Tourism and Infrastructure stated that this is the third time this has occurred. There was incident of smoke before and these are become more frequent with the same company. The Nobles’ Representative for Éua asked if this matter could be stood down to the Whole House Committee because this is the third time this has happened and this is directly relevant to the people of Éua. The Speaker instructed the Minister of Infrastructure to meet with his ministry and then report on it to Parliament.
The Nobles’ Representative No. 2 for Vavaú raised his concern over reports in the newspaper that Fijians residing in Tonga are in a quest for their rights as they are being abused in Tonga. He pleaded with government because of those who have overstayed in the Kingdom. And the Fijians and Samoans residing in Tonga should be considered family because when we do travel to their countries one considers it going from one home to another. He was also concerned over a tourist who had been assaulted and property stolen but who had returned.
He also congratulated the newly elected President of Fiji.
The People’s Representative No. 13 for Haápai reported of police officers who have yet to obtained their Travelling Allowance in full and asked the Acting Minister of Police if he could deal with it as well as making a recommendation about the price of goods.
The Nobles’ Representative No.2 for Vavaú also spoke about the charges for stall in the market and complaints about payment of stalls for both upstairs and downstairs.
The Nobles’ Representative No. 2 for Vavaú stated his concern over education because education might be affected as well as students. The Prime Minister stated that it has been confirmed by the University of the South Pacific that they will accept exams results from Tonga using Raw Marks.
The Noble also went on about an employee under the employment of the ministry whose salary is fifteen hundred thousand Paánga. But he Prime Minister stated that the employee had worked in Apia on changing Samoa’s programme. The Noble continued to a problem encountered by education in Samoa.
The People’s Representative No. 15 for Vavaú spoke about Per Diem for travellers to the outer islands. Because if someone occupies a government quarter that person is given only $80 and is deemed to have been directions from Treasury. The Member also reported problems faced by the people of Vavaú regarding the renewal of national IDs.
He was concerned because of the requirement by the office to produce a birth certificate and photograph because the outer islands are affected by this and the Member asked the Prime Minister if government could look into the directions issued by this ministry.
The Prime Minister agreed that such cases do happen but this had occurred during the previous administration, but it will be dealt with
The People’s Representative for Tongatapu 9 also spoke about the renewal of IDs. The Member also invited Members to a meeting on Friday in which an expert has been invited to explain the marks.
The Minister of Infrastructure and Tourism offered his support for the ID issue and also encouraged students to use their IDs.
The Chairman of the Whole House Committee reported on the Committee’s work to the House.
The Criminal Offences (Amendment) Bill 2015 was put to a second reading and was passed in a vote of 16 and no objections.
It was also put into a third reading and passed in a vote of 16 and no objection.
The Magistrates Court (Amendment) Bill 2015 was out to a second reading and passed in a vote of 15.
It was also put to a third reading and passed in a vote of 15.
The Illicit Drugs Control (Amendment) Bill 2015 was put to a second reading and passed in a vote of 19 and no oblections.
It was put to a third reading and passed in a vote of 18 and no objection.
The House adjourned for lunch.
Lunch Break >>>>>>>>>>>>
The Report from the Standing Committee for Privilege was about to be read but the Prime Minister asked if the Minister could be given the opportunity to respond. But the Nobles’ Representative for Niua clarified the Committee’s work in relation to the Rules of Procedure. But the Prime Minister wanted to make it clear that there had been a response so that his vote will have a basis. The Nobles’ Representative No. 1 for Haápai stated that the Minister had been given opportunities to respond.
The Minister for Infrastructure and Tourism again asked if he can be given an opportunity. The Prime Minister again stated that he would like to be well informed so that he can vote. After deliberations the Prime Minister moved that Parliament continue with proceedings. Report No. 12/2015 from the Legislative Assembly’s Standing Committee on Privilege was then read out.
After the report was read, the Speaker left with the Members to vote independently. But the Minister stated that he had not revoked his response and that he sought the opportunity to do so as he is of the opinion that the Committee has made further additions. The Nobles’ Represenative No. 1 for Haápai corrected and stated that it was the Minister himself that revoked both his responses. The Prime Minister then asked if they can adjourn voting for tomorrow.
The Nobles’ Representtaive No.1 for Haápai clarified that it is only to vote whether there would be an impeachment and that would be the end of it.
The Speaker ordered a brief adjournment.
Afternoon Break >>>>>>>>>>>>>>
The House resumed and immediately reverted to the Whole House Committee and the Prime Minister was concerned about the crimes and theft. He also stated of his wish for leaders to work together.
The Nobles’ Representative No.2 for Vavaú thanked the Prime Minister for the significant work carried out. He also sought assistance from the Prime Minister for the cleaning up committee of which he is a member. The funds that went missing should not be a concern of the Prime Minister because it was not the Prime Minister’s doing but instead it was the council’s doing.
The Noble went on to the problem that the Halaóvave school is encountering and the need to assist. He was also concerned with the selling of bread on Sunday because it is not just bread that is being sold but other items as well.
The Minister of Justice stated that the bakery issue is currently being dealt with, because the bakery being open the whole day does not seem like a good thing. The Noble was also concerned with restaurants and hotels being open and it also includes a bar located at the wharf that is also open on Sunday.
The Prime Minister thanked the assistance from the Noble Representative and he also informed that church leaders and churches alike wish that bakeries are no longer open on Sunday. The Prime Minister voiced his concern that we should consume more of our local food rather than products made from wheat in New Zealand and Australia.
He was also concerned with the use of diapers and that nappies should be used.
The Nobles’ Representative for Niua thanked the Prime Minister and made clarifications on the Namoa ó e Taki Lelei Committee. The People’s Representative No. 9 for Tongatapu stated that the Constitution stipulated that the Sabbath be kept holy. He informed the Minister of Justice that he does not wish for any concessions to be made and by saying that he was speaking on behalf of Tontatapu 9 and the Free Wesleyan Congregation.
The Nobles’ Representative No. 1 for Tongatapu raised concern over the fact that the reports stated that there is a lot of marijuana in Kolomotuá and the allegation that some of the police may be involved in the distribution of it.
The Minister of Justice spoke about the Bar and the same law that applies to the bakery applies to it but the matter will be further looked into.
The report was put to a vote and passed in a vote of 21 and no objections.
The House was adjourned to 10:00AM Thursday 22nd of October 2015.