Tonga parliament

Tongan opposition MPs seek judicial review

Kaniva Tonga reports the Supreme Court has granted leave for them to pursue a judicial review.

The MPs argue a debate is mandatory during motion of no confidence proceedings.

But on September sixth, during the 'no confidence' hearing of Prime Minister Hu'akavameiliku there was no debate.

A vote was held to decide whether a debate was needed, the result was in favor of no debate.

A submission to the Supreme Court arguing a debate is mandatory was then made.

Construction works begin for Tonga’s new parliament

A statement issued by the government said “The new building will be constructed under a project jointly funded by the Governments of Australia and New Zealand.”

The ceremony was attended by members of the Diplomatic Corps, HSH Prince Kalaniuvalu Lord Fotofili and nobles of the realm; the Prime Minister Hon. Hu'akavameiliku and Cabinet Ministers; the Speaker and Members of Parliament and guests.

King Tupou VI and Queen Nanasipau’u Tuku’aho were the guests of honour at the event.


Tonga’s Chief Justice rejects Parliament’s appeal

An MP brought a case before the court claiming Parliament gave itself a raise during a difficult economic time in Tonga.

RNZ Pacific's Tonga correspondent Kalafi Moala said the complanaint claims it was a breach of the consititution.

Moala said Parliament has denied its actions are illegal, and said the judicial review was outside of the court's jurisdiction.


Tonga’s national annual budget passed in parliament

A budget of $784.2 million pa’anga was passed with 14-0 votes.

The Ministry of Infrastructure received the biggest budget allocation and the Ministry of Finance and National Planning (18%), followed by the Ministry of Education and Training with 17% and a 9% allocation for both the Ministry of Health and MEIDECC.

This second budget of the current government focuses on economic recovery, greater resilience and sustainability.

Tonga Prince Tupouto'a 'Ulukalala to open 2023 parliament sitting

A statement said, “The Crown Prince Tupouto'a 'Ulukalala and two other nobles will open the 2023 session of the Legislative Assembly of Tonga, on Thursday 1 June.”

“The secondary schools’ marching has been cancelled in respect of the passing of HRH Princess Mele Siu'ilikutapu Kalaniuvalu Fotofili in Auckland, on 28 May.” 

“After the opening, the first agenda of the House is to respond to the King’s address before the House deliberates on Government's proposed budget 2023/24 financial year.”

“The budget estimate is required to be passed before 1 July 2023.”

Tongan students march to mark closing of parliament

Tonga's crown prince Tupoutoʻa ʻUlukalala officiated the closing with a short prayer in the house.

As part of the ceremony, school brass bands led the students in formation past Tongan MPs.

It's a renewal of the annual parade since the Kindom enforced covid restrictions in 2020.


Tonga Parliament passes three bills

The bills that were approved on 29 March, include the Retirement Fund Amendment Bill 2023, Retirement Fund Board Amendment Bill 2023 and the District and Town Officers Amendment Bill 2023.

A statement said Prime Minister Hu'akavameiliku, under Section 33 of the Rules of Procedure of the Legislative Assembly submitted a letter to the Speaker for Parliament to consider these Public Bills as matters of urgency. 

Tonga MPs reminded of their duties to the public

This was one of the highlights of the three-day induction programme that began yesterday.

Speaker of Parliament, Lord Fakafanua, said MPs represent the interest of the people “therefore legislators should always be prepared to carry out their legislative duties at all times for the people and the constituents they represent.”

MPs were also reminded that “This is through their duties when they debate and vote on legislation, approve the budget and their best approach to represent the voters in Parliament.”

Tonga Parliament to conduct Induction session for parliamentarians

The programme that will be conducted by the Tonga Parliament will also inform MPs of parliament’s oversight role on the executive.

The first session is planned for 27 February until 1 March and the second session will be held from 21-23 March, according to the Legislative Assembly's calendar.

A statement said the induction programme will be led by the Speaker Lord Fakfanua, with the Clerk and Deputy Clerk of Parliament and other Heads of Departments. Experts have been invited to conduct presentations on various issues related to Parliament.  

Tonga’s new Member of Parliament sworn in

Taione won Tongatapu 8 By-Election, on 19 January.

He succeeds Semisi Fakahau, who passed away last year.

Meanwhile, the agenda of the assembly included a Bill and Regulations received from the Government, annual reports from government agencies, and other reports to be tabled for consideration by the House, among others.

The last sitting was in December 2022.