27 Apr 2011

Tonga considers setting up municipal government for capital

1:38 pm on 27 April 2011

Tonga's MPs are to consider the merits of the capital, Nuku'alofa, establishing a municipal government.

There is no local level government in Tonga but as one of its final acts before last year's elections, the outgoing government passed an ordinance that would allow Nuku'alofa to set up a mayoralty and council.

Until now details of the plan have been kept from the public but the legislation is set to be signed off when the new government meets next month.

Our correspondent, Mateni Tapueluelu, says the previous government had claimed the change would bring greater democracy but there are doubts about that.

"For example this local council that would control all activities from commercial to law, certain military actions as well, they would centralise a lot of powers and actually repeat a lot of functions that the central government would perform or is performing at the moment."