29 Jan 2018

Pressure on for Tonga govt to swing into action

7:01 am on 29 January 2018
'Akilisi Pohiva returned to Parliament to be sworn in

'Akilisi Pohiva returned to Parliament to be sworn in Photo: Tonga Parliament

A New Zealand-based Pacific politics specialist says the pressure is now on Tonga's new cabinet to swing into action.

After some delay, the remaining ministers were sworn in last week, with prime minister 'Akilisi Pohiva taking the foreign affairs portfolio and noble representative Lord Ma'afu being appointed defence minister.

The Pasifika director at Massey University, Malakai Koloamatangi, said there were a few interesting changes, including a new deputy prime minister, internal affairs minister and an unelected appointee.

However, Dr Koloamatangi said the core of the cabinet remained the same as the one that was there when the King made the sudden decision to desolve parliament last year, triggering a snap election.

The last Pohiva administration was slow in terms of policy implementation, claiming it was hamstrung by the work and budgets of the previous government.

But Dr Koloamatangi said this was no longer the case.

"One would think that some improvement has to be made in terms of getting the work done that was supposed to have been done in the last term," he said.

"One would also have to think that some of the issues that led to the dissolution of parliament, some of those issues have to be also resolved," said Dr Koloamatangi.