18 Nov 2011

Niue MP challenges swearing-in of colleague in Auckland

12:18 pm on 18 November 2011

A member of parliament in Niue has taken legal action over the unorthodox swearing in of a fellow MP.

A former cabinet minister and secretary of justice, Togia Sioneholo, says Dion Taufitu, who has been in Auckland for medical treatment, was sworn in as an MP in that city months after the May election.

He says he wants the Niue High Court to declare the swearing in unconstitutional and to declare the seat vacant.

Mr Sioneholo says there is an assumption in the Westminster parliamentary system that the oath is publicly administered and in Niue's case this is normally in the island's parliament.

"And there's never been a case when it's been taken outside of Parliament. In this case it was actually taken in Auckland, I think in a hotel room in Auckland and the media wasn't allowed to be present at that occasion. Not only but it's another jurisdiction, it's a New Zealand jurisdiction, you know it's very important for any member elected to be seen to take the oath of allegiance in the House."

Togia Sioneholo.