Tonga receives tractors and fishing boats from China

Tonga Broadcasting Commission reports the assistance includes nine tractors and four fishing boats in which the government requested back in 2018 following the re-establishment of the Ministry’s branch in Tokomololo.

CEO of Agriculture Dr Viliami Manu says these tractors are for the people of Tonga to use and will cost $80 pa’anga per hour.

China’s Ambassador to Tonga – HE Cao Xiaolin in his remarks says, this isn’t the first time the Chinese government has assisted Tonga with equipment, and that agriculture productivity has improved and diversified in the kingdom.

Tonga Police operation targets new traffic laws on seatbelts and mobile phones

The new Traffic Act 2020 came into effect on 31 August 2020 and the police operation got underway on 1 October.

The Traffic Act 2020 introduces new offences and increase in penalties. This includes a legal requirement that all drivers and front seat passengers are to wear their seatbelt while on the road, and drivers are prohibited from using a mobile phone while driving.

A Blue Notice as part of the Public Awareness campaign by Police was issued to drivers throughout Tongatapu and the Outer Islands with the intention of giving road users time to adapt to the new laws.

Nine arrested over illicit drug-related offences in Tonga

The suspects were arrested in Tongatapu during a Police Drug Enforcement Taskforce sting targeting drug dealers and suppliers last week.

On Thursday 24 September, the Drug Taskforce arrested a 45-year-old man at his residence in Houmakelikao and seized 9 packs of methamphetamine (2.3 grams), drug utensils and cash.

A day later, police arrested a 27-year-old man and a 28-year-old woman from their residence at Kolonga and seized 0.31 grams of methamphetamine, 0.58 grams of cannabis, drug utensils and cash.

Tonga Police officer charged with rape and indecent assault

This matter allegedly occurred on Sunday, 27 September 2020 whilst the 18-year-old young woman was in police custody.

It was reported to Police on Tuesday, 29 September and after a criminal investigation an arrest was made on Thursday, 1 October 2020.

The matter is also a subject of a separate Professional Standards investigation.

Commissioner Caldwell suspended the police constable prior to his arrest.

The accused appeared at the Magistrate Court Friday and has been remanded in custody while the investigation continues.

Tonga plans to launch National Tree Planting Programme

Aotearoa Tonga Forest Ltd and the Mainstreaming of Rural Development Innovation programme would support the initiative. 

This was revealed after King Tupou VI went an Agricultural Tour of gardens in Tongatapu.

Tonga's popular annual Royal Agricultural Shows were cancelled this year due to the health emergency restrictions during the global coronavirus pandemic.

The king then went out to observe food production at the estates of the Ha‘a Havea Lahi nobles in Tongatapu.

6.4 magnitude earthquake hits off Tonga

The US Geological Survey downgraded the earlier report of 6.7 magnitude reading.

The earthquake struck at a depth of 35-kilometres, 98-kilometres south-east of Neiafu  and 210 kilometres north-east of Nuku-alofa.

It was also very shallow – 10km below the seabed which amplified the shaking.

Residents felt the earthquake but there are no reports of damage.


Vava’u communities undergo renewable energy training

Workshop Coordinator, Inoke Taufa said they aim to strengthen people’s awareness of renewable energy and energy efficiency and to increase energy efficiency at household level. 

“Target Groups are women, youths, farmers, and fishermen. We hope to improve community awareness about the government energy policies, TERM targets, existing and ongoing donor funded program of actions and how the community can benefit from them,” he said.

Activities include workshops, a community baseline survey, and developing and implementing the participants' efficient energy plans.

Tonga extends COVID-19 State of Emergency declaration

Prime Minister Dr Pohiva Tu’i’onetoa signed the extension of the declaration Monday.

Tonga has remained COVID-19 free since the health State of Emergency was first declared in March.

All restriction previously applied will continue.

These include a curfew from midnight to 5am and gatherings indoor limited to 50 people while outdoor gatherings are allowed up to 100 people.

The public is also urged to practice social distancing by keeping 1.5 metres away from the nearest person and comply with the Ministry of Health requirements for sanitation and hygiene.

Tonga Rugby Union agrees to governance changes

It comes after the global body had threatened to pull all financial support if the TRU did not sign the agreement by the end of Friday.

Tonga Rugby Union President Siaosi Pohiva signed the tripartite agreement on Friday evening at a hastily arranged Board meeting, after World Rugby had been forced to extend the original deadline on two occasions.

The new partnership with the Tonga Government and World Rugby will see a joint management committee take charge of the Union until long-standing governance issues are resolved.

Tonga celebrates Tax Week

He spoke at the annual event at the Taufa’ahau Domestic Wharf and called for the Ministry staff to carry out their work responsibly, work together and form a partnership with tax payers and the people of Tonga to build Tonga.

The event included performances by school students and employees from the Ministry of Revenue and Customs.

The Ministry of Revenue and Customs is running competitions (poem, quiz, short video and jingle) for the public and schools as part of the Tax Week.