Government denies lawyer’s claims PM Adern accused Jenny Salesa of under-performing

Kuo faka'ikai'i 'e he ōfisi ‘o e palēmia Nu'u Sila ki he Kaniva’ e pehē ne 'i ai tokua ha lau 'a Jacinda Ardern ‘o pehē ne fakahifo 'a e Fakafofonga Fale Alea Tonga ko Jenny Salesi mei he kapineti' koe'uhi ne 'ikai sai 'ene fakahoko fatongia' pea kuo tuli ai ia mo ‘akahi ki tu’a mei he kapineti’. Ko ha konga ‘eni e fakamatala ne fakahoko ‘e Loea Nalesoni Tupou he Feisipuka’. Pehē ‘e he sekilitali fakataautaha ‘a Ardern toko taha ‘eni ko Andrew Campbell ki he Kaniva’ na’e ‘ikai tonu e fakamatala ‘a Tupou’. Pehē ‘e Campbell te ne feinga ke fetu’utaki kia Tupou pe ko ‘ene ma’u ‘a e fakamatala ko ia’ mei fe? Na’e toe ‘omai ‘e Campbell ki he Kaniva’ ‘a hono hiki tatau (transcripts) ‘o hono ‘initaviu ‘e he letiō Nu’u Sila’ ‘a Ardern fekau’aki mo Salesa. ‘Oku ‘asi ai ‘a hono fakamahino ‘e Ardern ne ‘osi talanoa femahino’aki mo Salesa ‘e ‘oange ha halafononga ‘e taha kiate ia ‘o hangē ko hano fokotu’u ia ke tokoni pe ‘asisiteni sea ‘he Fale Alea’. ‘Oku mafai ‘a e pule’anga Leipa’ ke fokotu’u e lakanga ko ia’ fakataha mo e tokoni pe tepiutī sea’. Kuo toe ‘i ai mo e lakanga ‘e taha ‘e ‘oange kia Salesa ke kau ‘i he kōmiti fili ‘a e Potungāue Va’a ki Muli mo ha tu’utu’uni kiate ia ke ne fakafefeka’i e fetu’utaki ‘i he vā ‘o Nu’u Sila mo e ngaahi Fale Alea ‘o e Pasifiki’. Kaekehe ne fakamatala’i foki ‘e he mtia’ ‘a Salesa mo e minisitā ‘e taha ko Phil Twford ko e ongo ua ia ne na ulungia lahi taha ‘i hono toe fokotu’utu’u fo’ou e Kapineti’ mo pehē ne matu’aki ‘ikai pe toe pehē atu ko e hā ‘a Salesa. Na’e fakaanga’i ‘a Salesa ‘e he paati hoa ngāue ‘o e Leipa ko e ACT mo e ngaahi kupu ‘o e ngaahi ngāue'anga langa' ’ ‘aki ‘enau fakamatala’i ‘o pehē ne fu’u faingata’a fau e founga ki hano ma’u ha ngofua ki he langa’.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s office has denied claims made by Tongan lawyer Nalesoni Tupou that former Cabinet member Jenny Salesa had been accused of under-performing.

(L-R) PM Jacinda Ardern, MP Jenny Salesa, Lawyer Nalesoni Tupou

Tupou quoted the Prime Minister as saying ” Salea (sic) has underperformed in her job as a Minister . . . I told her to find another pathway for the rest of her career.”

Hon. Ardern’s Chief Press Secretary, Andrew Campbell, said Tupou’s comment was “inaccurate.”

“We do not believe the Prime Minister ever made such a quote,” Campbell told Kaniva News.

Citing transcripts of media interviews, Campbell said the Prime Minister and Hon. Salesa spoke and agreed on new roles for her this term, including Assistant Speaker, a role on the Foreign Affairs Select Committee and a direction to use these roles to strengthening relationships between New Zealand and Pacific Parliaments.

“The Prime Minister still has confidence in Hon. Salesa and the important work she has ahead of her in these new roles,” Campbell said.

Susie Ferguson of RNZ’s Morning Report asked: “You spoke yesterday about people getting second chances. She’s not getting one within Cabinet.”

The Prime Minister replied: “Look as I say, this for me and for Jenny was about taking a different direction entirely. And, of course, the presiding officers, you don’t take on those roles unless you are a competent person.”


Tupou claimed 16 staff who were working with Salesa resigned their jobs because they were not satisfied with her performance.

In a series of barbed comments, Tupou attacked Hon. Salesa,  saying she had been “dumped . . kicked out and sacked.”

“I ask you to come back and speak to us the people who voted for you,” Tupou wrote in Tongan on Facebook.

“Why are you keeping silent? You let us down after you have been sacked by the government. What were the shortfalls and bad things you did for the government?”


New Zealand media have described Salesa and Phil Twford as “the biggest losers” of the Cabinet reshuffle and said Salesa had been “completely snubbed.”

Twyford was in  charge of the heavily criticised KiwiBuild programme and Salesa was criticised by coalition partners ACT and sections of the building industry for what they claimed were overly  complicated procedures to get building permission.

The Tongan-born Salesa is Member for Panmure-Ōtāhūhū. She was New Zealand’s first Tongan-born, Tongan-speaking Cabinet Minister when she was appointed Minister for Building and Construction, Minister for Ethnic Communities and an Associate Minister for Housing and Urban Development, Health and Education.

Sometimes when a business is growing, it needs a little help.

Right now Kaniva News provides a free, politically independent, bilingual news service for readers around the world that is absolutely unique. We are the largest New Zealand-based Tongan news service, and our stories reach Tongans  wherever they are round the world. But as we grow, there are increased demands on Kaniva News for translation into Tongan on our social media accounts and for the costs associated with expansion. We believe it is important for Tongans to have their own voice and for Tongans to preserve their language, customs and heritage. That is something to which we are strongly committed. That’s why we are asking you to consider sponsoring our work and helping to preserve a uniquely Tongan point of view for our readers and listeners.


Latest news

Related news