16 Aug 2016

No confidence motion against Tongan PM evaporates in House

9:03 pm on 16 August 2016

A promised vote of no confidence against the Tongan Prime Minister has not gone ahead in the parliament.

The vote was scheduled for Monday and was to be brought by Lord Vaea, one of the Tongan nobles, but it did not eventuate.

When Prime Minister 'Akilisi Pohiva visited New Zealand at the start of the month, he brought Lord Vaea with him, introducing him as the leader of the opposition.

The Tongan Prime Minister 'Akilisi Pohiva

The Tongan Prime Minister 'Akilisi Pohiva Photo: RNZ / Alex Perrottet

Mr Pohiva said he was trying to be bipartisan and said John Key does the same when visiting Tonga.

But the Tongan parliament does not traditionally have an opposition bloc, and while in Auckland, Lord Vaea made no secret of his plans to bring a motion of no confidence against Mr Pohiva, citing a poor record on governance, issues in employment and education, and the dire state of the economy.

He said he would be putting his hand up for PM. But even with all nine nobles voting as a block, they require all five independent MPs to join them to topple Mr Pohiva in the 26-member house.

Matangi Tonga reported that in parliament, Lord Vaea failed on his promise to bring the motion but vowed to do so, without giving any indication of timing.

'Akilisi Pohiva has more than two years to run in his term and told RNZ International during his recent visit that he didn't think there was sufficient time to complete his long-promised anti-corruption reforms.