News Release

Tonga Now Government of Tonga Nukualofa, Tonga Feb. 5, 2007

NUKU’ALOFA, Tonga (Tonga Now, Feb. 5) - Tonga Attorney General and Minister of Justice Honorable ‘Alisi Taumoepeau launched the Kingdom’s first legislation database on compact disc and the website.

The Attorney General says it is the fundamental duty of a government to have an orderly society governed by the rule of law. She said in the past it had been difficult accessing the law, as there had never been a single collection of all the laws.

‘Alisi Taumoepeau emphasized that there were problems in knowing what laws were in force, what laws had been repealed and what was the latest law. She said even the courts shared this problem.

The launching of the legislation database on CD and on website makes the laws of Tonga available to everyone. She said it was also timely, as Tonga would have been in even greater trouble with most of the laws and records destroyed in the Crown Law office during the last November fires.

The legislation database and website is the initiative of Task Force for the Implementation of Regulatory Reform with the support of the World Bank and NZAID. This launch is first part of the law reform project.

Tony Lawson of the Pacific Island Forum Secretariat called the legislation database and website "an important infrastructure," representative of a nation under the leadership of the King. He said the legislature provides people will certainty, guidance and assistance.

Mr. Lawson has been involved with developing laws in 14 of the member island countries of the Forum Secretariat including the Kiribati, Palau, Niue, Cook and Papua. He calls this launching of the online legislation database ‘cutting edge’ providing best access to the public and showing leadership.

Lawson was grateful to Tonga for showing leadership in this area. He says it is a product he can take to other member countries of the Forum Secretariat.

The legislation database is the collaboration of Law Revision Commissioner Mr. Neil Ansett and the Crown Law Office.

Guests presented at the launch among others included the Honorable Minister of Labour, Industries & Commerce, Honorable Lisiate ‘Akolo, Lord Chamberlain Honorable Fielakepa, New Zealand High Commissioner His Excellency Mr. Michael McBryde.

Tonga Now is the website of the Reform Information Office, a unit within the Office of the Minister of Finance. The unit was established to assist the Minister of Finance in disseminating information to the public.

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