Tonga Government

Six families receive homes built under Tonga Government’s Cyclone Gita Recovery Project

The houses were constructed under the Government’s Cyclone Gita Recovery Project.

Cyclone Gita caused widespread damage and loss to homes throughout Tongatapu and ‘Eua, in February 2018.

The six families are Tevita Moala of Tatakamotonga, Sione Keti of Lavengatonga, ‘Akimoana Kaufana of Ngele’ia, Sione Fine of ‘Anana, Siaosi ‘Amanoni of Ngele’ia, and ‘Isileli Vaea of ‘Eua.

Five of the new houses are located in Tongatapu, and one in ‘Eua.

Tonga holds public consultations on proposed new traffic legislation

The legislation would make wearing seat belts, in the front seats, compulsory and outlaw the use of phones while driving.

Kaniva Tonga reports that heavily tinted front windows in vehicles would also be banned.

If passed the new legislation would also allow visitors who hold either a New Zealand, Australian or United States driver's licence to drive in the kingdom.

It also points to plans for Tonga's first set of traffic lights and the likelihood of heavy traffic being banned from some streets in central Nuku'alofa.


Tongan govt sacks Shared Communication Boards chair

The decision to sack Piveni Piukala was made by Cabinet last Friday, reports Kaniva Tonga News.

A government statement said the grounds for termination included incompetence, acting in bad faith, and failure to follow due process in appointing the chief executive of the Tonga Broadcasting Commission, or TBC.

On Wednesday, the TBC reported the termination followed Mr Piukala's decision to decline a request from the prime minister to suspend three TBC staff members and to investigate them for alleged misconduct.

High Court rules NZ appropriate forum to hear Tongan government dispute with cable company

The ruling was made as part of a legal dispute between the three parties over a debt of US$1.4 million which Hawaiki Cable says it is owed.

According to Kaniva News, the Cable company had wanted the case heard in New Zealand, but the Tongan defendants said Hawaiki Cable required leave to serve proceedings on it in Tonga and argued that New Zealand was not a legally convenient location.

However, both sides chose to approach the case using New Zealand law.

Pacific Games Council hoping for amicable conclusion to dispute with Tongan Government

Tonga were named as hosts in 2012 but the Government pulled out in 2017, citing financial concerns.

A reopened bid process ultimately led to Samoa being selected as hosts, with the Games currently ongoing here.

The PGC and Tonga Association of Sport and National Olympic Committee (TASANOC) also launched a civil suit against the Government.

Both have been seeking millions of dollars worth of damages over breach of contract.

Planned changes more democratic - Tonga Govt

The government has been pushing for legislative change that includes a separate agency to appoint judges, the police commissioner and attorney general.

Public consultations show strong support for the status quo, but government spokesperson Lopeti Senituli said the reforms were not about reducing the authority of King Tupou VI.

They are about creating a more democratic agency to make appointments to key posts, he said.

Establishing an independent Judicial Appointments Commission, would replace the current panel made up entirely of members of the Privy Council.

Pacific Games Council provides updates on finances and Tonga Government dispute

The organisation also provided updates regarding their finances and ongoing civil action against the Tongan Government.

The General Assembly meeting in Samoa saw several presentations from former and upcoming Organising Committees of the Pacific Games and Pacific Mini Games.

The PGC reported a strong financial year for 2017, with income of $460,846 (£347,000/€396,000) having been achieved, rising from the $237,175 (£178,000/€204,000) received in 2016.

This was largely due to all payments from the Vanuatu 2017 Pacific Mini Games being made during the year.

Pressure on for Tonga govt to swing into action

After some delay, the remaining ministers were sworn in last week, with Prime Minister 'Akilisi Pohiva taking the foreign affairs portfolio and noble representative Lord Ma'afu being appointed defence minister.

The Pasifika director at Massey University, Malakai Koloamatangi, said there were a few interesting changes, including a new deputy prime minister, internal affairs minister and an unelected appointee.

Troubles bring Pohiva govt support says former advisor

King Tupou VI dissolved parliament after the speaker claimed the government was acting unconstitutionally and trying to gather power for itself.

The government of 'Akilisi Pohiva was hampered by controversies during its tenure but managed to survive a vote of no-confidence earlier in the year

Voters will now go to the polls on November 16 and Lopeti Senituli said Mr Pohiva's support had grown through his recent troubles.

Legal action against Tonga for Pacific Games withdrawal

The Kingdom won the bid to in 2012 before withdrawing their hosting rights earlier this year due to financial reasons.

Pacific Games Council CEO Andrew Minogue says dealing with Tonga's withdrawal has cost them a lot of money.

"The additional costs that the council has had to incur in going through this process of finding a new host and the damage to the brand and the lost opportunity with potential sponsors and so forth."

PRN reports Minogue believes the Tongan government also owes TASANOC money as a result of the withdrawal.