26 Mar 2019

Tonga govt says 'urgent bills' not new legislation

3:35 pm on 26 March 2019

The Tonga government says legislation the opposition has blocked are the same measures the last noble dominated administration passed in 2014.

St George Government Building, Nuku'alofa CBD

St George Government Building, Nuku'alofa CBD Photo: Matangi Tonga

The bills, although deemed urgent by the government, have now been referred to the House Standing Committee on Legislation for review and consultation, which will delay their passage by at least two months.

This followed what the nobles-led opposition said was a failure to submit the measures for public comment.

But government spokesman Lopeti Senituli said the bills largely concerned the establishment of the Judicial Services Commission, which would handle key appointments.

He said the legislation was previously consulted on, and passed, by parliament in 2014, though not given the royal assent.

"So here is the opportunity to re-submit the same bills, same amendments, to parliament and His Majesty and Privy Council in 2019. So we can't understand why the nobles are so opposed to it, yet they were the ones who were in parliament in 2014. Most of them were."

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