The Island’s elected representatives sat for just half-a-day on Wednesday, but without two of the Niue Assembly’s key players – the Premier and the Speaker. Hon Sir Toke is overseas and Speaker Togia Pihigia is said to be unwell.
The only piece of legislation to come before the House was an amendment to the Misuse of Drugs Act to make it an offense for anyone in possessions of the means to manufacture.
A report tabled on the progress of the new Fale Fono building was not discussed by Members. Acting Speaker Dion Taufitu directed members to read the report first.
Common Roll member O’love Jacobsen queried as to why the project is continuing when there appears to be an issue over land. The member told the House that the lease on the land expired in 2016. But according to the Acting Premier Billy Talagi, the land in question is Crown land.
Allegations of Misconduct
With the audio system at Fale Fono playing up, it was difficult to the follow the proceedings at times but it seems that the Order Paper contained an item alleging misconduct on the part of Common Roll member Terry Coe. With no specific details from the government benches, it was left to Member O’love Jacobsen to enlighten the electorate.
According to Mrs Jacobsen, at the last sitting of the Niue Assembly, Hon Coe had brought into the debating chambers a small bag, allegedly containing marijuana, in order to provoke debate. The matter under discussion at the time was an amendment to Misuse of Drugs Act. The Speaker wanted nothing to do with the package and said that the whole matter be referred to the Police.
Hon Jacobsen said that if Terry Coe is to be cited for misconduct, then the same should apply to other members over incidents that have occurred in the past.
It is not certain how the matter will proceed in the future. For one thing, the alleged evidence has gone up in smoke, so to speak; it was burnt with other rubbish by the cleaning staff.
Question time – summary
* Niue has asked NZ for a lump sum payment of the annual budgetary support instead of the usual drip-feeding.
* The 2013-2014 Audit report is ready. The report of 2014-2015 is being finalised. The ADB has been approached for expert assistance to speed up the auditing process.
* NZ Quarantine can only alert Niue when they detect uga and uga products at the border.
* There are no plans to appoint a new CEO for government owned enterprises. The responsibility for SOEs (State Owned Enterprises) now rests with their respective Heads.
* The Niue Public Service Commission is expected to announce soon the appointments of the respective Heads for Taoga Niue Office and the Health Department.
* Total budget for road works is about $20m. [It was not clear if this is the total funding for sealing the roads by the Chinese.]
*The State Owned Enterprises are doing well; a report will be furnished to the Niue Assembly in due course.
By lunch time, it was all over.