Nobles plea to receive TP$900,000 of constituency funds; gov’t says it’s “problematic,” nobility not elected by people

Kole kau fakafofonga nōpele toko hiva ke oange ha’anau taki $1 kilu mei he paanga fakavāhenga oku taki $200,000 ai a e kau fakafofonga kakai ke nau fakaa’u ki honau ngaahi tofi’a. Ikai ke tui ki heni Eiki Palēmia’ he oku ikai tofuhia ngaahi vāhenga kotoa e 17 he mau nōpele. Pehē ‘e he Minisitā Polisi’ ‘oku ‘ikai tali ui e kau nōpele’ ki he kakai pea ‘oku 'ikai tonu ke ‘oange ‘a e pa’anga’ ni kia kinautolu. Kole kau nōpele ‘oku tonu pe ke fea ‘a hono vahe ‘o e pa’anga’ ni pea ke ‘i ai ha ‘inasi pau ai. Ne iku ‘o ‘ikai ha pāloti ia ki he fokotu’u’ ni hili ha fokotu’u ke tuku atu ki he pule’anga’ ke nau sio ki ai.

The nobility’s nine MPs in Parliament have pleaded with the government to be allowed to receive TP$100,000 each from the constituency funding to help people in their various estates.

The funding was meant for the 17 people’s MPs to distribute each year among their constituencies to help what were most needed by their people for the development of their community.

This year each people’s MP is distributing TP$200,000 to their constituencies.

The nobles want to have the same opportunity for the funding.

Apart from TP$100,000 the nobles have requested, TP$200,000 was allocated to build a parliamentary office for them. Another TP$400,000 was added to this allocation which included a salary for an administrator to run the office.

The Prime Minister did not believe the nobility MPs should be allowed to access the funding. He said in the House if the nobles were given the money it could cause problems.

He said not every constituency in Tonga had a noble MP.

Hon. Pohiva said the distribution of the money among the 17 people’s MPs was fair as every constituency in Tonga would have the same opportunity to get a share from the funding through their MPs.

He said if the nine nobles in Parliament were given an allowance, this would set them apart from other nobles who were not in the House and would not get the same benefit for their estates.

Noble MPs to be elected by people

The Minister of Police said the funding was intended for the people.

Hon. Mateni Tapueluelu said having the constituency funding given to the people’s MPs to distribute among their constituency could be justified because people could vote them out if they misused the funding.

He said this did not apply to the nobility because they were only elected by 33 members of the nobility.

Hon. Tapueluelu said if the nobility resolved to allow the people to elect them to Parliament their request for the funding would be justified.

The pleas

Lord Nuku said it was only fair that every MP in the House received a fair share of Parliamentary funding.

Vava’u 15 MP Samiu Vaipulu pleaded with the House to accept the request by the nobility.

Lord Tu’ilakepa pleaded with the government bench that he wished to keep the peace and asked that the noble be given the same opportunity.

He said they would spend the money according to its purpose and nothing else.

The debate was not put to a vote after Lord Tu’i’afitu asked the House to leave it for the government to consider.

The Minister of Police said he was surprised by the noble’s move to leave the proposal for the government to make a decision.

The main points

  • The nobility’s nine MPs in Parliament have pleaded with the government to be allowed to receive TP$100,000 each from the constituency funding to help people in their various estates.
  • The funding was meant for the 17 people’s 17 to distribute each year among their constituency to help what were most needed by their people for the development of their community.

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