Samoa Opposition Party Presents Election Platform

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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

Tautua focuses on strategies to prioritize social equality

By Lagi Keresoma

APIA, Samoa (Talamua, Jan. 7, 2016) – The opposition party, Tautua Samoa has highlighted 4 major policy areas in their long term strategic plan for Samoa should they become the Government of the day after 4 March’s general elections.

Tautua Party leader Palusalue Fa’apo 11 said the first 4 main policy areas are part of its manifesto that will be announced in the media over the coming weeks ahead of 4 March general elections.

Tautua believes Social Equality must be prioritized by treating everyone equally despite their status in the community, government, church or family.

On education, Tautua is looking at establishing a Samoa National Education Fun (SNEF) with US$25m to help parents pay school fees for students in college and university.

Tautua’s shadow Minister for Finance Afualo Dr. Salele Wood said, when parents cannot afford to pay for their children’s tuition fees in colleges and universities, it also ends the chance for a child to progress further.

There is also a need for more targeted quality technical training programmes to accommodate the needs of young Samoans.

"Every school child is eligible to this fund," said Afualo.

Vaimauga West Member of Parliament Lefau Harry Schuster supported Afualo’s stance on the SNEF programme.

"Children of the rich should be treated equally with children of the not so rich," said Lefau.

He said there is still an issue with teachers but the security and future development of the country depends on education.

"And that is what Tautua is striving for," he said.

[PIR editor’s note: On Jan. 7, 2016 Samoa Observer reported that ‘Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, has drilled holes in the Tautua Samoa Party’s Election plan, saying its "weak." ... He has also accused the Opposition leader, Palusalue Fa’apo II, of copying initiatives introduced by the Human Rights Protection Party (H.R.P.P). ... "It’s a very weak plan," Tuilaepa told the media yesterday evening. "The worst part is that we don’t know how they are planning to fund all these things." ... Tuilaepa said the difference between the Tautua and the government is that "we don’t take guesses" when they plan developments.’]

100% increase of pensions

The current amount paid to pensioners of $125 a month will be doubled according to Tautua.

Deputy leader Aeau Peniamina said pensioners should get $250 a month and Tautua is willing to double the $16 million annual budget currently allocated for pensioners.

"We will also look at the elderly people who are bedridden and those with special needs to be well looked after," said Palusalue.

On health

Tautua plans to introduce Medicare health insurance giving the people an option to choose the public hospital or visit private practitioners for medical issues.

"Children from babies to 5 years old will be treated free at the hospital," said Palusalue.

It was put to Tautua that the current practice at the Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Meaole hospital, children from newborn babies to 14 years old are treated freely at the hospital, but Tautua insisted that it was not the case.

He said taxes paid from products such as wine, liquors, cigarettes and soft drinks could be used properly to fund some of the health and education plans should they become the Government.

They also promised to do away with some of the taxes put in place by the ruling Human Rights Protection Party.

Palusalue said HRPP does not know how to run or allocate their funds wisely.

Tautua’s plans to elaborate more on other policy issues in their election manifesto in their weekly press conference.

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