THE Legislative Assembly yesterday approved for the Law Standing Committee to conduct public consultation in Vava'u on Royal Town of Neiafu Ordinance 2010.
This was unanonymously approved after a heated discussion by members of Parliament.
The move resulted from a recommendation by the Social Standing Committee after their week long deliberation on the matter last week.
The Chairperson of the Committee Dr. ‘Ana Taufe’ulungaki who is also the Minister of Education, Women Affairs and Culture presented the report in Parliament.
“The recommendation is to give people of Neiafu an opportunity to review the ordinance before they are resubmitted for final consideration by Parliament.
This is because there are clauses in it (ordinance) that is inconsistent with the Constitution and other Acts as well,” explained the Hon. MEWAC minister.
Meanwhile the Minister for Revenue, Hon. Clive Edwards told parliamentarians that up to TOP$10 - $15 million of the budget will be needed for such Royal Townships like Neiafu and Nuku’alofa.
“…that money will be taken from tax payer’s pocket,” Hon. Edwards stated.
The Hon. Minister also revealed the negative impact of such ordinance on the local community.
“…You will be prohibited to build your own kitchen or fence in your own home without getting prior approval from concerned ministry like the Environment Ministry…You will also seek approval from the Ministry of Health before you are allowed to build a fence in your own home. Yet, after all, additional expenses incurred will exceed the original cost for building your own house,” explained the Hon. Revenue Minister.
Meanwhile The Acting Prime Minister, Hon. Samiu Vaipulu pointed out that Government fully supports the Committee’s recommendation. However he maintained “there is no intention to levy tax on tax payers.”
According to the Acting PM, plans for Neiafu includes reclamation of Neiafu Tahi area owned by government as a freehold where new developments such as wharf and new market will be built as Neiafu Royal Town.”Tongatapu 8 People’s representative Sione Taione opposed the motion saying that public consultation on Royal Town of Neiafu ordinance is a costly project.
Parliament also approved for the Law Standing Committee to conduct the public consultation in Vava’u when the House adjourns in October.