Premier Dalton Tagelagi this morning confirmed that the government intends to hold a soft opening of the new Fale Fono (parliament building) at Halamahaga on Friday 25th of this month.
At the first sitting of the Fono Ekepule for this year, the Premier informed the elected members of the soft opening in response to questions from Hon. Va’aiga Tukuitonga.
The representative from Alofi North was concerned that the government has not been forthcoming with information on the new parliament building because the elected members are not aware of the developments of the new parliament building.
Premier Tagelagi assured the members of the Fono Ekepule that the new parliament building is nearly ready for the soft opening when the MPs will be able to see for themselves and the members of the public can walk through and see the new building for themselves.
Hon. Va’aiga Tukuitonga also questioned the government’s ‘soft opening’ suggestion saying that in Niue, when it comes to the opening of such iconic buildings, such events are grand and official.
She said that a soft opening is something new and not traditional at all. The former minister said that the people of the country have a right to be informed of these important events.
However, Premier Tagelagi felt that it was the government’s wish to hold a soft opening first and allow the MPs and the public to have a look at the new building.
He said ideally, the government was hoping and would like to have present some high-level officials from the New Zealand Cabinet to attend the opening.
When asked if today’s sitting of the Fono Ekepule will be the last meeting at the original Fale Fono, Premier Tagelagi said no. He said Cabinet will continue to work from the Fale Fono and the Fono Ekepule will continue to use the Fale Fono Chambers until further notice.
In August last year, Premier Tagelagi informed the Fono Ekepule that the new parliament building will be opened early this year.