4 Apr 2013

Tuvalu leader rejects claims about delay over by-election

2:45 pm on 4 April 2013

Tuvalu's Prime Minister has dismissed criticism that government ministers spend too much time abroad.

Willie Telavi made the comment while responding to suggestions from the opposition that he is delaying a by-election for the vacant seat of Nukufetau for fear of losing his parliamentary majority.

Mr Telavi says issues related to wrongful dismissals of Nukufetau officials by the local council have caused the delay.

He rejects public criticism that frequent travel by ministers means the government hasn't focused on organising the by-election.

"My response to that is we don't see any problem in the country that requires us to remain in the country (all the time). We have a number of important meetings that are going around in the region and in international arenas that we have to attend rather than to stay in Tuvalu just to see what is going on."

Willie Telavi says an example of the international meetings Tuvalu must attend is the recent Auckland energy summit where over 500 million US dollars was secured for clean energy projects in the Pacific.