THE Speaker’s announcement of no parliamentary visits for 2016 was met with resistance in Parliament.
Lord Tu’ivakano announced Monday there will be no parliamentary visit for next year so matters of importance to the public are dealt with in the next two years.
The Hon. Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pohiva also moved the Speaker’s proposal to hold parliamentary visits biannually.
Both Speaker and the Hon. PM believed same things are repeatedly raised during constituency visits every year.
The Speaker was adamant there is no need for parliamentary visits as it is a costly exercise. He said MPs are entitled to use allocated four airfare tickets a year to meet with their constituencies.
He also stressed the need for MPs to carefully review projects not implemented by Government to avoid duplication of effort.
“Whatever the most pressing needs of your constituency, talk and consult with them on what should be done with the constituency grant. The fund was initiated so you could visit, talk and consult with your constituency on what projects to be implemented to help them.
Government can implement projects like road repair and other projects and if constituency grant allocation is for the same purpose. If that’s the case such fund would have been better off left with Government to implement such projects,” explained the Speaker.
Lord Tu’ivakano said when parliamentary visits are held biannually the public would be happy to learn MPs are working towards addressing their pressing needs.
Meanwhile the PM said same matters are raised during parliamentary visits report every year yet people are realising MPs are not doing enough to address those issues.
“When Parliament is not in session it is appropriate time for MPs to visit their constituencies.
Meanwhile ‘Eua Noble Representative Lord Nuku thinks otherwise. He proposed to Parliament it should remain an annual event.
“Accountability to the people is the reason behind this. Matters raised during the last parliamentary visits differed from what concerns the ‘Eua people this year. For this reason, I think this should be carried out annually.
He said the most urgent matter that concerned his electorates are raised to them only during the parliamentary visit.
Lord Nuku also maintained the annual parliamentary event is carried out as stated in clause 62 of the Constitution.
Vava’u 15 constituency MP Samiu Vaipulu proposed to Parliament to defer considering of the proposal until next year as no one knows what the future holds.
He said due to the impact of climate change improving the water supply system of his electorates is among top priorities of his electorates.
Every year after the national budget is passed by Parliament, the House is adjourned for two weeks so MPs visit their electorates.
It is an opportunity for them to meet and talk with their constituencies on their needs and wants. MPs can also use their position to seek further assistance in addressing matters of concern.