Constitution Amendment Bills pass first reading

The 18th Niue Assembly voted in favour of the four Constitution Amendment Bills it the first reading of the Bills in yesterdays sitting of the Fono Ekepule.

Premier Dalton Tagelagi introduced all four Bills and initially asked to proceed to the second reading but the Fono Ekepule referred the Bills to the Constitution Review Committee.

The four Bills are:

  • Constitution of Niue (Title of Government) Amendment Bill 2024
  • Constitution of Niue (Auditor General) Amendment Bill 2024
  • Constitution of Niue (Increase to Ministers of Cabinet) Amendment Bill 2024
  • Constitution of Niue (Term of the Niue Assembly) Amendment Bill 2024

All four Amendment Bills passed the first reading by 3pm yesterday.

Members engaged in some lively debate in the first reading of the amendment bill to change the title of the head of government from Premier to Prime Minister but the vote to pass the first reading was unanimous. 

After lunch, the second bill to increase the members of Cabinet from four to six, three members did not support the Bill. Common Roll MPs O’love Jacobsen and Emani Fakaotimanava-Lui and member from Toi Dion Taufitu voted against but the Bill passed with 16 members in support.

On the third bill to expand the term of the Assembly from three to four years, four members did not support the bill Common Roll MPs Jacobsen and Fakaotimanava-Lui, member from Toi Dion Taufitu and member from Alofi North Tutuli Heka. 

The Assembly unanimously supported the fourth amendment to change the name of the Audit Office of New Zealand. 

The four bills were referred to the Constitution Review Committee to tidy up on some the language given the constitutional requirement that all bills must be presented in both Vagahau Niue and English. 

The committee will have until the last Wednesday of April to return the bills to the Fono Ekepule for the second reading. 

After the second reading, the Bills will be taken to the public through consultations and meetings before a public referendum where the people will vote on the proposed amendments. 

Depending on the outcome of the public referendum, the bills will be returned after 13 weeks to the Fono Ekepule for the third and final reading. 

It is expected that the date for the public referendum will be set after the second reading next month.

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