THE Honourable Prime Minister yesterday told Parliament that a letter of apology must be sent from the Legislative Assembly’s office saying sorry to New Zealand.
Lord Tu’ivakano’s comment came amid concern alleging the Auditor General Pohiva Tu’i’onetoa’s recent comment on New Zealand’s TV One News that insulted the Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. McCully.
He said in his capacity as the Foreign Affairs Minister he wanted the office of the Speaker to write an apology letter to the New Zealand government on behalf of the Parliament.
“This is because the alleged comments by Mr. Tu’i’onetoa have hurt New Zealand and also harm the Tongan and New Zealand government’s diplomatic relations.”
This is an effort to maintain the diplomatic ties between the two countries.
Lord Tu’ivakano added despite everything an apology letter must be sent from the Parliament’s office to New Zealand, adding a similar letter will be sent from the Prime Minister’s office.
At the same time the House was also informed that any shortfall of senior government officials in his office that were responsible for the NZ Aid money must be dealt with accordingly.
“I understand there are shortfalls on the government side in carrying out its duty. I firmly believe if the Prime Minister’s office does what the Auditor General’s wants we wouldn’t have gotten to this stage,”
"If government’s effort is to be transparent and accountable, Parliament should act likewise. Everything we do must be transparent and we do it honestly and when we see mistakes we correct it. But this is doesn’t mean we pardon someone and leave it as it,” said the PM.
He also urged senior civil servants to be responsible with their own actions.
“There are policies they must follow and government must ensure they adhere to it. In that regard I hope senior government officials must be responsible for any information they release to the media and to reconsider its impact on others,” said the PM.
He also called on senior civil servants to be good role model for personnel in lower positions as Tonga moves into a more democratic government.
“We all hope our work to be transparent with nothing to hide and what we do contribute to good governance. To be transparent and accountable and if our actions are not according with our policy and regulation, then appropriate decision must be made.
He added although the Auditor General denied insulting the New Zealand’s government but the damage has been made to Tonga and Aotearoa’s diplomatic relation.
The PM also proposed to the House that two of the three terms of references put forward by the government should be handed over to the Select Committee to work on.
That includes work on allegations against the Auditor General breached the Public Finance Management and the Public Audit Acts.