27 Jun 2019

Niue opposition MP files action over right to be heard

5:06 pm on 27 June 2019

Niue opposition MP Terry Coe is going to court over restrictions on his efforts in the country's parliament.

Niue Parliament

Niue Parliament Photo: Supplied

Mr Coe has filed action seeking the Niue High Court's opinion on the legality of the Speaker's decisions to deny and restrict his questions and motions in the house.

He said half of his questions and motions had been denied and this was impacting on his ability to do his job as a member of the Opposition.

"We want transparency and the opposition, who's the minority, need to be heard and that's quite plain in the standing orders, that the minority should be heard in the house."

Mr Coe said he was worried the people would not believe he was raising their issues and concerns in the House.

"I say I've put the motions and questions in that they've asked... and it's important that the listening public can hear what I'm putting in."

Other members of the Opposition plan to file legal cases pending the court's decision on his case, Mr Coe said.

The Niue Legislative Assembly is due to discuss the annual appropriation budget today and Mr Coe is hoping that he won't be restricted in his questions during the discussions.

Mr Coe is one of the longest serving members of the Niue Legislative Assembly, having served more than 25 years and more than half of that time in opposition.

Niue's Speaker, Togiavalu Pihigia, said he had received court papers relating to the issue and that he would not comment.