Everything you need to know about the Government of Tonga

GOT - 9 Outcome Objectives to achieving Government's vision

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"To develop and promote a just, equitable and progressive society in which the people of Tonga enjoy good health, peace, harmony and prosperity, in meeting their aspirations in life."

The Government's Vision will be achieved by delivering the following 9 Outcome Objectives and based on 4 enabling Themes

Outcome Objectives:

  1. Strong inclusive communities - by engaging districts/villages/communities in meeting their prioritized service needs and ensuring equitable distribution of development benefits.
  2. Dynamic public and private sector partnership as the engine of growth - by promoting better collaboration between government and business, appropriate incentives and streamling of rules and regulations.
  3. Appropriate, well planned and maintained infrastructure that improves the everyday lives of the people and lowers the cost of business - by the adequate funding and implementation of the National Infrastructure Investment Plan (NIIP).
  4. Sound education standards - by emphasizing quality, universal basic education.
  5. Appropriately skilled workforce to meet the available opportunities in Tonga and overseas, by delivering improved Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET)
  6. Improved health of the people by promoting healthy lifestyle choices with particular focus on addressing non-communicable diseases, and providing quality, effective and sustainable health services.
  7. Cultural awareness, environmental sustainability, disaster risk management and climate change adaptation, integrated into all planning and implementation of programmes by establishing and adhering to appropriate procedures and consultation mechanisms.
  8. Better governance by adopting the qualities of good governances, accountability, transparency, anti-corruption and rule of law.
  9. Safe, secure and stable society by maintaining law and order.

GOT- Enabling Theme

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The delivery of Tonga's Outcome Objectives will be facilitated through four enabling themes:

  1. Continuing progress to a more efficient government by focusing on its core functions, improving coordination, service delivery and optimizing use of resources.
  2. Improving the macro-economic environment and fiscal management, including effective revenue services to ensure a level playing field and those services to the people can be appropriately funded.
  3. Ensuring Public Enterprises are sustainable and accountable, and where appropriate moved into the private sector.
  4. Ensuring a more coordinated whole of government approach in Tonga's partnership with development partners.

Each Government Ministry set their program and activities to achieve each Ministry objects and functions in accordance to the Government's outcome objectives and Vision


The Tongan Judiciary

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The judicial power of the Kingdom is vested in the Court of Appeal, the Supreme Court, the Land Court, and the Magistrate's Court (cl 84).

The Constitution includes clear protection of the independence of the judicial branch and court processes. The judicial power also enables the Supreme Court, if asked to do so, to examine actions by the Cabinet or a Minister or a public official - and to interpret all law in appropriate cases to ensure that it is not inconsistent with the "supreme law" of the Constitution.

In all such cases, there can be appeals to the Court of Appeal.

The Courts System

  • The Court of Appeal

The Court of Appeal shall consist of the Chief Justice of Tonga and of such other judges as may be appointed from time to time by the King with the consent of Privy Council:
Provided that no person shall be appointed unless-
(a) he holds, or has held, high judicial office; or
(b) (i) he is qualified to practise as an advocate in a court in some part of Her Britannic Majesty's dominions having unlimited jurisdiction in civil or criminal matters; and
(ii) he has been qualified so to practise for not less than ten years.

  • The Supreme Court

The Supreme Court shall consist of a judge called the Chief Justice, and such other judges as may be appointed from time to time by the King with the consent of the Privy Council, sitting with or without a jury.

Jurisdiction of the Supreme Court

Supreme Court shall have jurisdiction in all cases in Law and Equity arising under the Constitution and Laws of the Kingdom (except cases concerning titles to land which shall be determined by a Land Court subject to an appeal to the Privy Council in matters relating to hereditary estates and titles or to the court of appeal in other land matters) and in all matters concerning Treaties with Foreign States and Ministers and Consuls and in all cases affecting Public Ministers and Consuls and all Maritime Cases.

Jurisdiction of the Court of Appeal

The Court of Appeal shall have exclusive power and jurisdiction to hear and determine all appeals which by virtue of this Constitution or of any Act of the Legislative Assembly lie from the Supreme Court or Land Court (excepting matters relating to the determination of hereditary estates and titles) or any judge thereof and shall have such further or other jurisdiction as may be conferred
upon it by any such Act.


Legislative Assembly of Tonga

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Title - The Legislative Assembly of Tonga

Powers of the Legislative Assembly

The King and the Legislative Assembly together have the power to enact laws and the approval of the Legislative Assembly is needed for:

  • taxation and customs duties,
  • the government's budget each year
  • Annual Reports - The Ministry and other organs of "government" by statute are also required to report to the Legislative Assembly on various matters.

The King and the Legislative Assembly shall have power to enact laws, and the representatives of the nobles and the representatives of the people shall sit as one House.

When the Legislative Assembly shall have agreed upon any Bill which has been read and voted for by a majority three times it shall be presented to the King for his sanction and after receiving his sanction and signature it shall become law upon publication.

Votes shall be given by raising the hand or by standing up in division or by saying "Aye" or "No"

Members of the Legislative Assembly - Members of Parliament of Tonga

The Legislative Assembly of Tonga is made up of elected representatives of the nobles, elected representatives of the people, plus any appointed Ministers (up to 4 may be appointed).


Cabinet - Executive Branch of Government of Tonga

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THE CABINET  See Photo Profile

Cabinet is the centre of the "management of government".

The Cabinet is the executive branch of government, and in accordance with clause 41 the Ministers meet collectively in Cabinet to consider the business of government. They are chosen from amongst the members of the Legislative Assembly, except for any appointed Ministers who, on appointment, become members of the Legislative Assembly

Relationship and role of Cabinet in Government and the Country as a whole.

Its relationships with the other parts of government are both practical and constitutional.

  • the Legislature with the Monarch;
  • the Public Service with the Monarch;
  • the Public Service with the Legislature;
  • the Judiciary with the Monarch; and
  • the people and the Kingdom of Tonga with the outside world underinternational law.

This connecting role of Cabinet in the governmental system means that a document setting out conventions, working principles and relationships between key institutions of government is of considerable constitutional significance.

Members of His Majesty's Cabinet

  • Head of Cabinet - The Prime Minister, Hon. Samiuela 'Akilisi Pohiva - Minister for Foreign Affairs
  • Deputy Prime Minister - Hon. Semisi Lafu Kioa Sika - Minister for Infrastructure and Tourism
  • Minister for Lands & Natural Resources and Minister for His Majesty's Armed Forces -  Lord Ma'afu Tukui'aulahi
  • Minister for Finance and National Planning - Hon. Dr. Pohiva Tu'i'onetoa
  • Minister for Health and Minister for Public Enterprises - Saia Ma'u Piukala
  • Minister for Education and Training - Hon. Penisimani 'Epenisa Fifita
  • Minister for Agriculture, Food, Forests, and Fisheries - Hon. Semisi Tauelangi Fakahau
  • Minister for Justice and Minister for Prisons - Hon. Sione Vuna Fa'otusia
  • Minister for Revenue & Customs and Minister for Police & Fire Services - Hon. Mateni Tapueluelu
  • Minister for Meteorology, Energy, Information, Disaster Management, Environment, Climate Changes and Communications- Hon. Poasi Mataele Tei
  • Minister for Internal Affairs - Hon. 'Akosita Lavulavu
  • Minister for Commerce, Consumer, Trade, Innovation, and Labour - Hon. Dr. Tevita Tu'i Uata

Secretariat for the Cabinet is the Chief Secretary and Secretary to Cabinet - Dr Palenitina Langa'oi Tiueti

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