Tonga PM

'We are the Pacific ocean' says Tonga's PM in Palau

Hu'akavameiliku Siaosi Sovaleni told 500 delegates from more than 80 nations "that we are small island communities with small economies and capacities and managing our ocean alone."

The prime minister quoted renowned Pacific academic and ocean champion, the late Epeli Hauʻofa:

'Oceania is vast, Oceania is expanding, Oceania is hospitable and generous, Oceania is humanity rising from the depths of brine and regions of fire deeper still, Oceania is us.'

Tonga's PM confirms Covid-19 variant in Kingdom is Omicron

At a press conference this morning in Nuku'alofa, Prime Minister Hu'akavameiliku Siaosi Sovaleni said the Omicron variant was identified after samples were sent to Australia.

He announced that there were now a total of 65 covid cases in Tonga and that it had spread to the island of Vava'u where 1 case was confirmed at the village of Mataika.


'Resilience and strength of people' will get Kingdom through, Tonga's PM

Earlier today, the prime minister together with Minister of Health Saia Piukala said that one of the first two reported cases has since tested negative - but he remains in isolation at Taliai Military Camp awaiting further tests.

The total number of positive covid cases in Tonga now stands at four - down from five originally announced yesterday.

Tonga remains in lockdown with all shops closed and people ordered to stay home.

Work is underway to establish the source of the infections and identify which variant it is.

Tonga elects new PM: Siaosi Sovaleni

Sovaleni is the interim education minister, and is a former deputy prime minister.

He was the favourite to win the prime minister's seat, with a convincing lead emerging in recent days, and secured 16 out of 26 votes in the Legislative Assembly.

Sovaleni's election represents a change of government for the kingdom as his only rival candidate, 'Aisake Eke, had the backing of the former prime minister Pohiva Tu'i'onetoa.

Tonga's PM to let law take course over cabinet minister

The Infrastructure Minister, 'Akosita Lavulavu, with her husband, 'Etuate Lavulavu - a former cabinet minister, have been charged with fraud over land they quarried in Vava'u four years ago.

When asked by the website Kaniva Tonga whether he would sack the minister, the prime minister said "Let the law rule."

The opposition leader Sēmisi Sika has said Lavulavu should resign if found guilty.


PM to meet Tongan community in Auckland

The meeting is scheduled to be held on Monday 16 November, when the Prime Minister is in New Zealand on his way back to Tonga after a meeting in Europe.

The event will be held at the hall of the United Church of Tonga Taufa’ahau Tupou IV, 2 Gray Avenue, Mangere East at 7 – 8.30 pm, a Tongan Church and Faith-based Leadership Network spokesperson told Kaniva News.

The Network said it wished to invite all members of the Tongan community to the meeting.  

It was an “important opportunity” for the community, it said.  

Tonga’s PM expresses gratitude to Ikale Tahi

He released a statement expressing his appreciation to the players.

“It is with utmost respect, on behalf of His Majesty King Tupou VI, the government and the people of Tonga, to convey herein our hearty congratulations, deep love and appreciation, to the coach, captain and respective member of the Ikale Tahi team for their overwhelming diligent and divinely empowered triumph at their recent Rugby World Cup game versus United States.”

“It is indeed a personification of national pride and solidarity and inspiration for the generation of today and tomorrow.”

New Tonga PM rejects claims of betraying predecessor

Mr Tu'i'onetoa was elected prime minister last week to replace Mr Pohiva, who died last month in Auckland.

He achieved this by crossing the floor and taking several members of the PTOA Party with him to form a new party with the nobles.

But local media have reported the remnants of Mr Pohiva's party as saying this was a betrayal of the late prime minister by Mr Tu'i'onetoa and his colleagues.

The new prime minister said this is wrong.

Tonga MPs choose Tu'i'onetoa as new Prime Minister

Pohiva Tu'i'onetoa, the current Minister of Finance, has won convincingly with 15 votes, to acting Prime Minister Semisi Sika, who got 8 votes.

Mr Tu'i'onetoa, who was a minister in good standing in the Pohiva government, earlier this week crossed the floor to form the new People's Party and gain the support from a united group of nobles and independent MPs.

Three other MPs who were part of Mr Pohiva's party, also crossed the floor.

The defection of the four members of Pohiva's party meant the party was unable to have a majority in electing the prime minister.

Preparing for election of a new Tongan prime minister

But the pro-democracy party of the late Prime Minister may not have the majority for their nomination to win the prime ministerial election.

This is because four party members in Parliament have joined the opposition.

The four who defected includes the Minister of Finance and Planning, Pohiva Tu'i'onetoa; the Minister of Justice, Vuna Fa'otusia; the member from Vava'u 16, Akosita Lavulavu; and the member from Niua, Vavatau Hui.

The defections mean that the pro-democrats will have only 9 votes for their nomination.