The National Committee for the Political Reform (NCPR) recommended the following:
1. That the number of Nobles in the House remains at 9 and how they are elected remained the same.
2. That the number of elected representatives of the people is to increase to 17 from the current 9.
3. That the King would still elect the Prime Minister but must be from the members of the House.
4. The Prime Minister would choose his Ministers from the members of the house also.
In this writing, I’ll address the first two proposal and will visit the the last two on a later date.
Numbers of Nobles and Representatives in the House:
Let’s first determined the number of People’s Representatives (PR) to the house in terms of their responsibilities to their constituent. It seems to me that the emphasis and the discretionary behind the number 17 recommended by the people is based on getting even or the upper hand on votes in the house.
In the US of A, The number of PR from each State of the Union is determined by the population size. It is estimated that there are about 110,000 people in Tonga. A PR per 10,000 people is not a bad ratio.
Tonga should be divided into Political Districts and or Islands Below is my suggestion for such political districts and island. I am also suggesting the number of Reps from each district or island.
Districts and or Island, and number of Representatives -
Vahe Kolomotu’a 1
Vahe Kolofo’ou 1
Vahe Hahake 1
Vahe Loto 1
Vahe Hihifo 1
Overseas (West, USA) 1
Overseas (East, NZ, Aust) 1
It should no longer be Peoples representative for Tongatapu that we are accustomed to. It should now be Kolomotu’a’s representative to the Parliament or Hihifo’s representatives to the Parliament.
In this new arrangement, the representatives will have a manageable area to look after and meet the specialized needs of these districts. We must realize now that the infrastructure need for Hahake District may not be a major concern for residents of Kolofo’ou. Kolomotu’a may be concerned with house breaking and robbery but that may not be a major problem in Vaheloto.
It has been mentioned that there may be as many Tongans living outside of Tonga as are the number of people living in the Islands. I would be more conservative and guess that there are as many Tongans living overseas as the population of Vava’u and may be more. It is no secret that the biggest money earner for Tonga are from remittance from these Tongans off-island. I can imagine that there is a lot of Tongans overseas who would like to have some say on what is going on in our homeland. I also believe that these off-island reps will bring in exciting and interesting ideas to the table that can benefit the house. To this purpose, I suggested two representative from off island.
Nobles should be elected to represent Islands and or districts not just themselves. Their number can remain at 9.
Sione L. Kava
slkava [at] samoatelco [dot] com