The Prime Minister’s son, Siaosi Pohiva, has criticised Parliament’s decision to use taxpayers’ money to pay for 14 non-cabinet MPs and staff to fly to New Zealand for the Mate Ma’a Tonga test match against the Kangaroos this Saturday.
Kaniva news understands the decision was made after Acting Speaker Lord Tu’ilakepa sent a circular informing only some of the MPs about a letter from the Rugby League Committee inviting Parliament to attend the match.
An executive box in the Mt Smart stadium has been also paid for, along with the MPs’ travelling allowances and accommodation in New Zealand.
Kaniva news has contacted the Speaker through Parliament’s Chief Clerk for a comment.
A reliable source told us the House approved TP$80,000 for the travel.
However, in his letter to the Speaker on October 10, which has been seen by Kaniva news, Siaosi claimed the amount was more than TP$200,000.
Siaosi, the editor and publisher of Kele’a newspaper, blasted the move and described it in Tongan as extravagant and unloving.
He reminded Speaker Lord Fakafanua about discussions in Parliament about requests from different factions of the public who asked for help with their financial difficulties.
He said the government was trying to allocate money from a tight budget prudently, yet at the same time the House had decided to spend a large amount of money on MPs’ travel.
Siaosi told the Speaker it would have been more appropriate if he and one member each from the nobility and the people’s MPs attended the match to represent the House.
Siaosi suggested the Speaker reconsider the decision.
He said the decision was not proper in a country which was regarded as religious and educated.
Meanwhile, Parliament has also agreed with the government to share the TP$20,000 cost of live streaming the match on Tonga Broadcasting Commission and Television.
The king, Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pohiva and Deputy Prime Minister Semisi Sika will attend the match.
Meanwhile in Auckland, Tongan flags and Mate Ma’a logos have begun appearing all over the city on vehicles, houses and other buildings as fans prepare for Saturday’s game.
A Mate Ma’a Tonga Fan Day will be held at the Mt Smart Stadium from 3.30-5.30pm this Wednesday.
Fans will be able to watch the MMT team train. There will be live entertainment, interviews with the coach and players, and an opportunity for the team to meet fans.
“Kainga this is free and open to all ages,” Tagata Pasifika’s Tongan correspondent John Pulu has announced on Facebook.
The main points
- The Prime Minister’s son, Siaosi Pohiva, has criticised Parliament’s decision to use taxpayers’ money to pay for 14 non-cabinet MPs and staff to fly to New Zealand for the Mate Ma’a Tonga test match against the Kangaroos this Saturday.
- He said it would have been more appropriate if the Speaker of the House and one member each from the nobility and the people’s MPs attended the match to represent the House.
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