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Only three nobles chosen in 'able' new Tongan cabinet

New Tongan Prime Minister Lord Tu'ivakano ... 'able' Cabinet selected. Photo: Taimi Online

Josephine Latu, Pacific Media Centre

3 January, 2011

New Tongan Prime Minister Lord Tu'ivakano has selected an able Cabinet he can work with - and just three nobles are in the line-up, including himself.

“We have only three nobles including myself,” he told the Tonga Chronicle/TMN.

"Lord Ma’afu has been given the Lands portfolio according to law [whereby a noble must hold the post], and the other is Lord Vaea. The rest are from the people.”

A full list was leaked to TMN and published here.

Lord Tu’ivakano said only seven have formally been installed in their ministerial positions and the four remaining will be formally appointed by His Majesty by Monday.

The first full Cabinet meeting will take place afterwards.

“We looked at our supporters, talked it over with the other table – well we talked it over with all the 17 People’s Representatives.”

He also told New Zealand media he plans to create associate ministerial posts.

“At the end of the day, I have to look [for] a good calibre of people who will support what I am trying to do and I can work comfortably with,” he said.

New Cabinet lineup: 1 woman, 2 Demo Party members, 2 nobles
Eleven new Cabinet ministers were reportedly been sent warrants of appointments.

It is understood that aside from the Prime Minister, Lord Tu’ivakano (who will also oversee Foreign Affairs and Defence), the new Cabinet lineup will include two nobles – Lord Ma’afu and Lord Vaea – and two non-elected ministers, including former MP William Clive Edwards and Dr ‘Ana Taufe’ulungaki.

Members of Tonga's Parliament, 2010:

From the Democratic Party of the Friendly Isles, only ‘Isileli Pulu and ‘Akilisi Pohiva received appointments.

Some reshuffling of government ministries will take place, although this will be confirmed tomorrow.

The new ministers will be sworn in and the first Cabinet meeting is scheduled for Tuesday.

Members are tipped to include:

Deputy Prime Minister/ Minister of JusticeSamiu Vaipulu, Minister of Justice since Nov 2009; elected People’s Representative from Vava’u 1987-1989, 1993-2002, 2005 to present; licensed law practitioner, Diploma in Legal Studies (Univ. of the South Pacific, Fiji).

Minister of FinanceSunia Fili, elected People’s Representative from ‘Eua, 1999 to present; former high school teacher and law practitioner; BA (Univ. of the South Pacific, Fiji); only MP to vote for CEDAW ratification in Sept. 2009.

Minister of Health – ‘Akilisi Pohiva, elected People’s Representative from Tongatapu 1987 to present; long-time pro-democracy campaigner and government critic and leader of the Democratic Party of the Friendly Isles; former teacher at Ministry of Education, founded Kele’a newspaper in 1986; BA History (Univ. of the South Pacific, Fiji).

Minister of Education – Dr ‘Ana Taufe’ulungaki, first-time MP; spent 30+ years at Ministry of Education, Women’s Affairs and Culture (formerly Ministry of Education); member of National Committee for Political Reform in 2006 and Constitutional and Electoral Commission in 2009; former Pro-Vice Chancellor of  Research and Graduate Affairs at the University of the South Pacific; BA (Auckland University, NZ), MA (University of Leeds, UK), PhD in Education(University of Birmingham, UK).

Minister of Lands, Survey and Natural Resources – Lord Ma’afu, elected Noble’s Representative 2008 to present; Minister of Environment and Climate Change since 2009; Private Secretary to His Majesty 2001-2006; commissioned officer at the Tonga Defense Services for more than 20 years. Head of the Havealahi Clan.

Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries – Lord Vaea, first time MP; Master of the Royal Household and long-time palace archivist; Chairman of the Tonga Traditions Committee.

Minister of Public Enterprise & Revenue – William Clive Edwards, OBE, elected People’s Representative 2005-2010, beaten by Dr Sitiveni Halapua in 2010 elections; Minister of Police 1996 - 2004 (including a stint as Acting Deputy Prime Minister) but became strong government critic after he was forced to resign; practiced law in New Zealand in the 1970′s and 80′s before moving permanently to Tonga in 1994 (represented Dennis Priven in the 1976 murder trial of Peace Corps volunteer Deborah Gardner, securing his acquittal); BA/LLB (Auckland, NZ).

Minister of Labour and Commerce – ‘Isileli Pulu, elected People’s Representative since 2001; former officer at Ministry of Labour and Commerce; long-time pro-democracy campaigner; BA (Australia).

Minister of Police – Dr Viliami Latu, elected People’s Representative from Vava’u 16; Clerk of the House 2008 – 2010; Assitant Secretary at the Prime Minister’s Office 2000-2003, 2006-2007; BA (Atenisi University, Tonga), MA Political Studies (Auckland University, NZ), PhD Asia Pacific Studies (Ristumeikan University, Japan); ran for parliament in 2008 but lost by 51 votes.

Minister of Tourism – Lisiate ‘Akolo, Minister of Labour and Commerce 2006 – 2010; director of South Pacific Tourism Organization 2000-2006; former managing director at Tonga Commodities Board and Tonga Development Bank; BA in Political Science and Public Administration (Victoria University, NZ), MA in Development Banking (American University, Washington DC, USA).

Minister of Training, Employment, Youth and Sports – Fe’ao Vakata, first time MP; communications engineer and former Radio Licensing Officer and Project Manager for Ministry of Information; former teacher at Tonga High School.

Lord Tu'ivakano chosen as Tonga's new prime minister


About the authors

PMC profile photograph

Josephine Latu

Former PMW contributing editor

Josephine Latu is a media officer in the Ministry of Information and Communication in Tonga.

PMC profile photograph

Pacific Media Centre

PMC newsdesk

The Pacific Media Centre - TE AMOKURA - at AUT University has a strategic focus on Māori, Pasifika and ethnic diversity media and community development.


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