In an historic move, Premier Dalton Tagelagi introduced a motion before the final sitting of the Fono Ekepule today calling on constitutional reforms. The motion was carried and supported by the majority of the members of the Assembly.
The motion call on the Assembly (Fono Ekepule) as a matter of priority, to invoke the mandate of the parliament’s Constitution review committee as soon as possible. The Premier asked that after the new year break for the Committee to begin the process of reviewing the Niue constitution by holding public consultations and to report to the house on recommendations for amendment.
Veteran MP O’love Jacobsen says that in her more than 30 years in the Assembly, this is the first time that a sitting Premier has put forth a motion before the Fono Ekepule. Jacobsen supported the motion saying that she recognises the urgency of the undertaking given the times we live in.
After the meeting the Premier told BCN news that it was quite weird for him to put forth a motion as a sitting Premier but he felt the time has come to begin this process. He also wanted to remind his colleagues in the House that as representatives of the people, it is their role as law-makers to ensure the laws are responsive to the times we live in.
Premier Tagelagi says that the most important part of this process is that the people to be involved and engaged in this process of national consultations on the review of the constitution. He said that when the Committee comes to your village, to please go to the meeting and have your say.
Possible changes include increasing the size of Cabinet from current four ministers to perhaps six or seven ministers. The Premier says that it is also time to consider changing the title of Premier to Prime Minister and perhaps even look at the elections cycle from every three years to perhaps increasing the number of years.
The last amendment of the Niue constitution was in 1993 when the Public Service Commission was moved from Wellington to Niue.