Nearly six weeks after the Prime Minister said there was no need for further public consultation on new government Bills, the Parliamentary committee dealing with legislation will start public feedback sessions next week.
The public will be invited to make written submissions on the six Bills, which the government wanted debated last month.
As Kaniva Tonga news reported at the time, the Bills were at the centre of upheavals in Parliament when the Acting Speaker blocked attempt to have them heard as a matter of urgency.
Noble MPS also walked out of Parliament during debate over the bills and there were angry exchanges in the House.
As we reported, Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pōhiva resisted pressure from the Nobles to allow more public consultation on the new Bills.
Hon. Pōhiva told the House the government had fulfilled all legal requirements before the new Bills and amendments were to be submitted to the House.
The government had previously been using radio talk back to gauge public opinion about the Bills.
However, Radio New Zealand reported that the Prime Minister later withdrew the Bills, citing a need for public consultation.
The Bills, which were originally tabled in March, are:
Bill no. 15/2019 – Act of Constitution of Tonga (Amendment) Bill 2019
Bill no. 16/2019 – Act of Constitution of Tonga (Amendment) (No.2) Bill 2019
Bill no. 17/2019 – Tonga Police (Amendment) Bill 2019
Bill no. 18/2019 – Magistrate’s Courts (Amendment) Bill 2019
Bill no. 19/2019 – Judicial and Legal Service Commission Bill 2019
Bill no. 20/2019 – National Spatial Planning and Management (Amendment) Bill
Public meetings will start next week.
A public awareness programme providing information about the Bill began today.
The Members of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Legislation will host public meetings in Vava’u from May 6–10, followed by meetings in Ha’apai from May 13-14, Tongatapu from May 15-22 and ‘Eua on May 24.
The timetable of the consultation programme can be found on the government website, http://www.parliament.gov.to, the Facebook page Fale Alea ‘o Tonga, or by phoning 27912.
Radio announcements will also provide details on the dates and venues of upcoming public consultation meetings.
The main points
- Nearly six weeks after the Prime Minister said there was no need for further public consultation on six new government Bills, the Parliamentary committee dealing with legislation will start public feedback sessions next week.
- The public will be invited to make written submissions on the six Bills, which the government wanted debated as a matter of urgency last month.
For more information
Acting Speaker shuts down discussion on new Bills, tells House to come back the next day
Nobles and Cabinet meeting deadlocked as gov’t blocks decision for another public consultation on new Bills