18 Dec 2009

Tonga government wants Niua and Tongatapu seats to merge

4:30 pm on 18 December 2009

The Tongan Government has decided that 11 of the 17 MPs to be elected by the people should be based on the main island Tongatapu.

The Legislative Assembly has now voted on some of the key recommendations put to it by the Constitutional and Electoral Commission.

It is to set up a Boundaries Commission which will determine the single seat electorates wanted by the Government.

It has also modified the Constitutional Commission's recommendation for nine seats on Tongatapu and the rest spread through the other island groups.

As our correspondent Mateni Tapueluelu reports the Government has deemed there should be three seats on Vava'u, two on Ha'apai, one for Eua, with the Niuatoputapu MP relocated to Tongatapu.

"The islands of Niua where the tsunami took place earlier in the year, is now amalgamated into Tongatapu. That is a completely new thing and we will see how the interests of the most distant island and the interests of the main island can be put together."

Mateni Tapueluelu