23 Jul 2010

Tonga PM defends timing of Remuneration Authority Bill

8:07 am on 23 July 2010

Tonga's Prime Minister is defending the timing of the passing of a bill that allows the creation of a new authority to set parliamentary salaries.

The Remuneration Authority Bill, under which a new body will be appointed by the Minister of Finance with Cabinet approval, is one of a series of legislative reforms being enacted by Tonga's parliament.

Criticism of the bill's centred on its timing, with suggestions that its passing should have been left to the government to be formed after November's general election.

But Dr Feleti Sevele says the new government will have enough to do.

"A government has a duty to put these things into place. And it was not just now, this was put to the House last year, it was not accepted and we bring it back again this year. The next government when they come in, if they want to change it they can change it. But at least you've got to set up some of these necessary bodies to deal with these issues."