As the country awaits the announcement of the three ministers in the Tagelagi led government, BCN News will continue with the profiles of the remaining five new MPs and the return of a veteran politician to the Fono Ekepule.
It’s understood the new Cabinet of Ministers will be sworn in on Friday this week before the State Opening of the 18th Assembly on Monday 15th May.
Premier Dalton Tagelagi may consider one of these new MPs to join his Cabinet or assist as a Member assisting a Minister (MAM) which is a legal position created through the Civil List Act to support the ministers with their large portfolios, similar to the role of an Associate Minister.
The new MPs includes tech entrepreneur Emani Fakaotimanava-Lui, the only private internet service provider (ISP) Kaniu in Niue and he also runs another ISP Maka Net in New Zealand. The son of former Premier Frank Fakaotimanava-Lui was ranked second in the Common Roll in his first election campaign.
Then there’s the former Director of Telecom Niue, Tutuli Heka the representative for Alofi North, his experience in the public service and communications may be a valuable addition to Premier Tagelagi’s Cabinet.
The new MP for the village of Namukulu is Silipea Sione who is a church elder and will be the third Ekalesia Niue Head Deacon in the 18th Assembly alongside Billy Talagi of Avatele Ekalesia, Talaititama Talaiti of the Vaiea Ekalesia. Silipea Sione impressed the crowd at the opening on Monday, while the other members including MPs who have read the oath many times, he took his oath from memory, his head held high.
New also to the Fono Ekepule is Logopati Seumanu, the former school teacher who became a conservation officer in 1996 and is a former public servant working with the Environment Department and the Project Management Coordination Unit.
Ian Hipa from the village of Hikutavake is also new to the role as a member of parliament but the tradie and building contractor will have much to contribute to the debates in the Fono. He told BCN News that his priority will be to the projects that need to be done for his village Hikutavake.
Then there is the return of Billy Graham Talagi who ranked fourth in the Common Roll pack this year, with his many years of experience in Cabinet and parliament since he became a member of the Fono Ekepule in 1996 on the Common Roll and from 1999 until 2017 he was the representative for Avatele. Before losing his seat in 2017, Billy Talagi served with Dalton Tagelagi in the late Sir Toke Talagi Cabinet as Minister of Social Services.
Talagi is seen by many as a matua in the Fono Ekepule, the elder to calm the waters when things get tough and a valuable reference in matters of Taoga Niue.
BCN News will provide the live broadcast on Radio Sunshine of the State Opening of the 18th Fono Ekepule on Monday next week.