Tonga’s noble MPs have pledged to topple ‘Akilisi Pōhiva’s government with a no-confidence motion, saying the Prime Minister had failed to deliver transparency and accountability he promised voters.
Lord Vaea confirmed the move to Kaniva News on Planet FM 104.6 this morning.
The Tongan language talkback programme was co-hosted by Kalino Lātū of the Kaniva Pacific News and Kite Tuʻakalau of Dateline Tonga.
It was originally planned that Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pōhiva would join the discussion over the phone, but we were eventually told he could not be available.
Lord Vaea, the Leader of the Opposition was in Auckland as one of the delegates accompanying Hon. Pōhiva’s state visit.
Lord Vaea said the House would resume on August 15 and the vote of no confidence would be the nobles’ priority.
He said they wanted to oust Hon. Pohiva because in 18 months in office his government had failed in many respects.
This including the controversial change in the Ministry of Education’s examination assessment policy from standardisation to raw marks.
He said the change had badly affected students and parents.
The restoration of the Sunday Trade Ban law has also hugely affected the business community.
He said an inconsistency in how the government handled the CEDAW convention had not reflected well on the Prime Minister after his government went back on its ratification because there were protest marches back in the kingdom.
Lord Vaea said an outgoing government minister had been declared corrupt by a parliamentary committee, but escaped being expelled from Parliament because Pōhiva and his government won the vote.
However, a Supreme Court decision led to him being ordered to vacate his seat in Parliament.
Asked whether or not they would trade with the independents and offer them the premiership and deputy positions, Lord Vaea said the posts were “pelepelengesi” (fragile) and they should not be used to seek personal advantages.
The Opposition Leader said they had nine noble MPs with a few independents on their side, while Hon Pohiva’s side had 14 or 15 which was obviously a large number to deal with.
He said the election of Hon. Pohiva to the premiership was successfully supported by some of the independent MPs.
Lord Vaea said he was also concerned at how the government repeatedly dealt with the government civil servants’ pay and appeared to have no policy in place for the youth and unemployment.
He was asked if the nobles would become the government after the vote of no confidence and what difference they could make in running the government.
Lord Vaea said there were two types of people in Tonga apart from those in the mainland Tongatapu, the youth and those in the outer islands.
He said young people made up almost half the Tongan population.
Lord Vaea said the government should seriously consider the people who lived in the outer islands because they struggled to find education and employment.
Talk back callers
A caller to the programme who identified himself as Heneli asked Lord Vaea how he thought the nine noble MPs could take part in the vote of no confidence when the nobles were not elected by the people.
Lord Vaea said the nobles were responsible to the nation because they held the “tofiʻa” (estates). He said they were in Parliament as representatives of all districts in Tonga.
He said that during the past 200 years it was the “houʻeiki” (nobles) who welcomed Christianity and Education into Tonga.
Another caller by the name of Mōsese said there was nothing new in what Lord Vaea was referring to in their policies if they became the government.
He said those policies had been promoted by Hon. Pōhiva many times before.
However, Lord Vaea said the timing and how these policies were put into action made a big difference.
The main points
- Tonga’s noble MPs have pledged to topple ‘Akilisi Pōhiva’s government with a no-confidence motion, saying the Prime Minister had failed to deliver transparency and accountability he promised voters.
- Lord Vaea confirmed the move to Kaniva News on Planet FM 104.6 this morning.
- It was originally planned that Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pōhiva would join the discussion over the phone, but we were eventually told he could not be available.
- Lord Vaea, the Leader of the Opposition was in Auckland as one of the delegates accompanying Hon. Pōhiva’s state visit.