6 Jan 2011

Tonga PM justifies appointing unelected ministers

2:32 pm on 6 January 2011

The Prime Minister of Tonga says he chose to appoint two people from outside parliament to cabinet because of their previous experience.

The new cabinet which met for the first time yesterday includes six people's representatives, three nobles and two commoners chosen by the prime minister from outside the assembly.

The appointment of two unelected people to cabinet has been criticised by the Democratic Party of Friendly Islands, which says they will only be accountable to the Prime Minister and will be an additional cost to taxpayers.

But the Prime Minister, Lord Tu'ivakano says he was legally entitled to bring in four people from outside parliament and he wanted to choose people he knew rather than unknown new parliamentarians

"I can get suitable people that I think they run that department, even Ana, Dr Ana Taufe'ulungaki with education. She has been with the ministry for a long time and I think there got experience, and also it's the women's and I think she can cover both. With Clive, he is an experienced parliamentarian and a businessman."

Lord Tu'ivakano says the next cabinet meeting will be next week.