28 Aug 2017

Tongan PM comes out swinging after King dissolves Parliament

From Morning Report, 8:24 am on 28 August 2017

RNZ Pacific's Jamie Tahana unpicks the constitutional turmoil playing out in Tonga after King Tupou VI passed an effective vote of no confidence in the government of 'Akilisi Pohiva.

"Mr Pohiva's government has been marred by controversy since he took over in 2014... He's made decisions to ratify conventions while bypassing Parliament, three of his ministers have been dismissed, one's been convicted of bribery," Jamie Tahana says. 

"The straw that broke the camel's back seems to have been the decision to withdraw from the Pacific Games just two years before they start. They've already taken loans, China and New Zealand are building stadiums there, they've introduced taxes and levies that haven't been revoked."

Mr Pohiva has "come out swinging - he's called it a coup attempt and an attempt to push him out... He says he was never informed of the decision, he found out on social media. He originally planned to retire at the election but now says he will run again come November."