25 Mar 2013

Tonga lacks funds to pay parliament staff fully

1:03 pm on 25 March 2013

The Speaker of Tonga's Parliament, Lord Fakafanua, says parliamentary staff cannot be fully paid because it has overspent its budget by seven percent.

The Matangi Tonga website reports the House's budget allocation of two and a quarter million US dollars became a topic for discussion after Lord Nuku reported staff were unhappy with their pay.

Unplanned drains on the parliamentary budget include the medical expenses for MP Uliti Uata, who was hospitalised with a stroke nine months ago.

As well, the government has agreed to keep paying the parliamentary salary of Lord Lasike, who lost his seat after being convicted of illegally possessing ammunition.

That conviction was overturned on appeal.

The website reports another major expense has been the Parliamentary Select Committee investigation into how funds for the rebuilding of Nuku'alofa were spent.