As the island draws nearer to the general elections and at close of nominations today, six members of the last 17th Niue Legislative Assembly will not be seeking re-election. A hard decision for some while for others, it is for health reasons.
The six members who will not be returning into parliament include first termer Minister Hon. Sauni Tongatule, long-serving Alofi North MP Hon. Va’aiga Tukuitoga, Lakepa MP John Tiakia, long-serving MP for Liku Hon. Pokotoa Sipeli, longest serving member for Namukulu Hon. Jack Willie Lipitoa, and former Common Roll Members Stanley Kalauni and Richard Hipa.
Minister for the Ministry of Social Services Sauni Tongatule on Tuesday made his first public announcement on Social Media, that he will not be seeking re-election at the upcoming general elections at the end of the month.
Minister Tongatule said that it was not an easy decision to step down from his short political career, but he trusts in God that he has made the right decision.
In his statement on social media Minister Tongatule thanked the people of Niue and those who voted for him in 2020. He thanked all the public servants and heads of departments in his ministry of Social Services as well as senior officials of government.
At the closing of parliament the long serving representative of Alofi North Hon. Va’aiga Tukuitonga announced her retirement from politics after serving the village for 24 years.
Earlier this morning, former common roll member Stanley Kalauni announced that he will not be seeking re-election, retiring from politics after 12 years as a common roll member. Kalauni was elected in 2011.
Member for Lakepa John Opo Tiakia will not be seeking re-election this year. John Tiakia has served as the representative of Lakepa for 12 years, he was first elected in 1993 until 2005 and again in 2020.
As expected due to ill health Hon. Pokotoa Sipeli, the long serving representative from the village of Liku has also retired from politics. Hon. Sipeli was elected as the Liku MP since 1993, serving the village of Liku for 30 years. For 12 years he was a minister in the Cabinet of the late Sir Toke Talagi.
Also due to ill health, common roll member Richard Hipa who is in New Zealand has effectively retired from politics after a short term, having only been elected in 2020.
Richard Hipa topped the common roll list of the 2020 general elections. It wasn’t long after his success as an elected representative into the 17th Niue Assembly until he was medivaced midyear of 2021 to New Zealand. Since that time, Richard Hipa remains in New Zealand for his health and so has his family who have relocated overseas.