Support for Jacobsen
Sources close to the opposition camp say that they have agreed to back O’love Jacobsen’s bid to unseat Sir Toke Talagi.
Another member of the group Mr Terry Coe said that they have 6 confirmed supporters and are still working to secure more. Obviously 6 from 20 doesn’t quite work; the opposition must look at the Talagi camp. While the task is not impossible it will be an uphill struggle trying to convince someone to cross the floor, unless the offer comes with some incentives.
While the promise of a full cabinet post is obviously the ultimate bargaining chip, don’t dismiss the post of Assistant Ministers – officially known as MAMs or Member assisting the Minister. The Talagi government has already set the precedent with MAMs by recognising their existence as well as being permitted to take full part in cabinet meetings. It also comes with an official car. In the last government the posts were held by Kupa Magatogia, Joan Viliamu and Talaititama Talaiti.
For the other side, again based on what we know from the last Assembly, we have: Alofi North, plus Common Roll members Stan Kalauni, Terry Coe and Crossley Tatui. We can now definitely add to that list O’love Jacobsen, making a total of 5.
Of the new members, based on immediate past history, Hakupu and Mutalau voted with the opposition. Tuapa backed the government. There is no indication that these villages will vote the same way in the new Assembly.
The bottom line is that Veve Jacobsen and her team have a lot of work to do from now until Friday morning when the Assembly will sit for the first time.
For the Talagi camp, caucus leader Billy Talagi is working hard to ensure that members stay strong. But he is also working with a limited supply of carrots. Tala Niue understands that the selection of people to sit on the round table is the total prerogative of the Knight himself.
Anyone who is familiar with Niue politics will know that promises made behind closed doors can quickly unravel when it gets to the floor of the debating chambers of the Niue Assembly. It’s not over until each ballot paper is counted.
Postscript: A village stringer for Tala Niue informs us that Mrs Jacobsen was in a close huddle with two others at Hio Café this afternoon. One of the ladies was definitely Mrs Maureen Melekitama but our contact could not say for certain if the other was new member Mona Ainu’u. Would this be the beginning of a girl-movement in the Niue Assembly, or just friends having lunch?