PM’s Tongatapu 2 Meeting: Drainage, footpaths, water, road repairs, streetlights and special care for those who relocated to Tongatapu were urgent needs.
Prime Minister Pōhiva Tu’i’onetoa said most roads in Tongatapu 2 were in good condition.
He said he estimated that only 30 kilometres of roads in the area needed to be filled and sealed. The Prime Minister also said there was an urgent need for water tanks and that this need was common to Tongatapu 2, Tongatapu 3, and Tongatapu 4 residents.
He said there was a problem with some of the new footpaths because according to maps some had power poles in the middle.
He said some footpaths needed to be upgraded because they had sharp kerbs.
Hon Tu’i’onetoa said there was an issue after Tonga Power Board and footpath contractors were in dispute over who should pay for the work to move the power poles.
The Prime Minster said three things needed to be done before constructing footpaths.
Firstly, the constructor had to obtain authorisation from the Minister of Lands to begin construction. Secondly there had to be a process of identifying and labelling power poles, footpaths and the roads. The final part was to request the Tonga Power Board to move power poles to their correct positions.
This work had to be done before drains could be dug.
The Prime Minister said Tonga had no laws regarding footpaths.
He said he thanked the Minister of Infrastructure for proposing laws for footpaths. Bills were expected to be submitted to Parliament in two months.
The Prime Minister said the Ministry of Infrastructure had corrected footpath maps in December last year and these were used for the new footpaths in Ha’ateiho.
Hon Tu’i’onetoa said the new footpaths were different from previous ones, which showed the issues had been resolved.
He also said drainage work in some areas in Tongatapu 2 needed to be repaired as past floods showed they did not work.
Outer islanders relocating to Tongatapu 2
The Prime Minister said there were people in Tongatapu 2 who were relocating from the outer islands and they need help to fill their swampy tax allotments. He said these people needed to be provided with special urgent care.
In his first meeting with the Tongatapu 2 constituents since he was appointed Prime Minister in October 2019, Hon Tu’i’onetoa said he could not be a good leader unless he met with them face to face.
He said this was important because these were the people to whom he was accountable. He was the people’s Prime Minister and they were the people that mattered to him most.
Parable from the Bible
The Prime Minister quoted the parable from the Holy Bible about the shepherd who left his flock of 99 sheep in order to find the one which was lost.
Jesus was the Good Shepherd and he knew his sheep, he said.
Hon. Tu’i’onetoa said in their meetings with other constituencies people revealed they found it difficult to talk to civil servants.
He said the people were happy to see he met them to hear their urgent needs directly.
He told the Tongatapu 2 he was meeting them because they were his sheep and he wanted to feed and give them drinks.
He said he did not have to stay in his office all the time.
The Prime Minister said despite having abundant work to do he would not be satisfied unless he met all the people of the 17 constituencies in Tonga.
He said he would meet them again in a fono organised for the whole of Tonga.
Other concerns from Tongatapu 2 included asking the government to post a town officer for Fanga ‘O Pilolevu.
There was a complaint to the Prime Minister about loud music played and fireworks being let off near churches while they were having prayer services.
There was a need for the Fanga O Pilolevu’s public cemetery to be extended and long standing drainage issues that had to be addressed.
A Fanga ‘O Pilolevu resident said when there was flooding some vehicles stalled while driving through the floodwaters at St Andrew’s School.
A woman asked the government to put more pedestrian crossings on their Fanga ‘O Pilolevu’s Taufa’āhau road and renew paints of the pedestrian markings.
Some Tofoa and Havleuloto residents asked the Prime Minister to seal and repair their roads and provide solar powered lights to some areas. They said some young girls had been abducted from their houses during the night.
A resident in Kolofo’ou asked the Prime Minister to put speed humps on their Hala ‘Unga road to slow speeding vehicles to safe speeds.