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Parliament

Large scale reforms needed to pull Tonga out of poverty into prosperity, states King

Nuku'alofa, Tonga

HM King George Tupou V arrives at Parliament House
HM King George Tupou V arrives at Parliament House.

HM King George Tupou V opened Tonga's reformed parliament, this morning, June 2 noting that large scale reforms are needed to change Tonga "from an impoverished country, which missed out on most opportunities to improve its circumstances in the 20th Century to a prosperous one of the 21st Century".

In a speech from the throne the king paid tribute to the achievement of the previous government and parliament in enacting what he referred to as the "first stage of our democratic reform . . . without a single voice of dissent."

He reminded parliament that the essence of the reform, vested the power for further reform in parliament.

But King George also stated that the political reforms of the past are small in scale when compared to an economic and social organization reform designed to change Tonga "from an impoverished country, which missed out on most opportunities to improve its circumstances in the 20th Century to a prosperous one of the 21st Century."

The King set a target for a 2% economic growth rate by 2013, and advised government to coordinate efforts under a general policy "to encourage our commercial activities, primary production and competent marketing."

Speech from the throne
Speech from the throne.

HM King George Tupou V
HM King George Tupou V.

Lord Chancellor

With regards to the long awaited appointment of a Lord Chancellor to appoint judges and a new Attorney General, the King said that government will introduce legislation to parliament, which will grant the king power to appoint a temporary Lord Chancellor and a temporary Attorney General, to complete the membership of the Judicial Appointments and Disciplinary Panel to select Tonga's first Lord Chancellor and a new Attorney General.

He said that a Lord Chancellor "shall be empowered to protect the Courts and the judges while preserving the integrity and impartiality of the Judiciary."

Nuku'alofa was alive with the sound of brass band music and the cheering of secondary schools from around Tongatapu who marked the event with their colourful display of marching on a beautiful cool day.

HM King George Tupou V
HM King George Tupou V.

LDS Pakilau Middle School marching girls
LDS Pakilau Middle School marching girls.

LDS Havelu Middle School marching
LDS Havelu Middle School marching.

Takuilau College Brass Band
Takuilau College Brass Band.

HRH Prince Tungi (centre) and Sione Ngu
HRH Prince Tungi (centre) and Sione Ngu.

Princess Mele Siu'ilikutapu
Princess Mele Siu'ilikutapu.

Foreign diplomats at the opening of Parliament
Foreign diplomats at the opening of Parliament.

The Speaker, Lord Lasike (left), with the Acting Prime Minister Saimu Vaipulu and Lord Ma'afu
The Speaker, Lord Lasike (left), with the Acting Prime Minister Saimu Vaipulu and Lord Ma'afu.

Mrs Dishington Scott
Mrs Dishington Scott.

Lord and Lady Tupou
Lord and Lady Tupou.

Lord and Lady Dalgety
Lord and Lady Dalgety.

Guard of Honour
Guard of Honour.

Lady Adi Koila Nailatikau
Lady Adi Koila Nailatikau.

The Japanese Ambassador to Tonga, HE Mr Yasuo Takase
The Japanese Ambassador to Tonga, HE Mr Yasuo Takase.

The honorary consul for France, Tupou Pasikala Fiu.
The honorary consul for France, Tupou Pasikala Fiu.

Lady Robyn Tu'ivakano (second from right) and wives of members of parliament.
Lady Robyn Tu'ivakano (second from right) and wives of members of parliament.

St Andrew's College teachers parade in Nuku'alofa for the opening of Parliament
St Andrew's College teachers parade in Nuku'alofa for the opening of Parliament.

Beulah College marching
Beulah College marching.

Queen Salote College Marching
Queen Salote College Marching.

Queen Salote College brass band
Queen Salote College brass band.

'Unuaki 'o Tonga Tertiary Institute marching
'Unuaki 'o Tonga Tertiary Institute marching.