Tongan PM says constitutional changes backed by 2014 report

Tonga‘s Prime Minister says his government‘s efforts to remove the position of Attorney General from the King‘s Privy Council and appoint him as a Cabinet Minister are in line with a 2014 report on constitutional law.

Tonga Prime Minister, ‘Akilisi Pohiva Photo: RNZ Pacific / Koro Vaka‘uta

‘Akilisi Pohiva‘s administration has been pushing for more powers of appointment when it comes to positions like Attorney-General and the Police Commissioner and this is thought to have been one of the issues that led to last year‘s dissolution of parliament.

The 31-page report by legal consultant Peter Pursglove was funded by the Commonwealth and approved by the Tu‘ivakano government in 2014.

The report said that “responsible government demands that the Attorney General, as a principal legal advisor to the Government, should be accountable for his actions in the same way as any Minister of Government is accountable”.

The Prime Minister told Kaniva News his government was following up the recommendation to review the Constitution contained in the Pursglove report.

The report said the main duty of the Attorney General was to advise the government and he must be accountable to the government.

Currently, the Attorney General is the legal and principal legal advisor to Cabinet and government but is independent of both.