Viewing cable 06WELLINGTON384
Title: SAMOAN GOVERNMENT: NEW ZEALAND AND AUSTRALIA

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
06WELLINGTON3842006-05-18 05:05:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Wellington
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DE RUEHWL #0384/01 1380505
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 180505Z MAY 06
FM AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2795
INFO RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 4412
RUEHSV/AMEMBASSY SUVA 0460
RHHMUNA/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI
C O N F I D E N T I A L WELLINGTON 000384 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPARTMENT FOR EAP/FO AND EAP/ANP 
PACOM FOR JO1E/J2/J233/J5/SJFHQ 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/17/2016 
TAGS: PREL PGOV NZ WS
SUBJECT: SAMOAN GOVERNMENT: NEW ZEALAND AND AUSTRALIA 
ASSESS CABINET 
 
REF: A. APIA 40 
     ¶B. WELLINGTON 253 
 
Classified by Charge d'Affaires David R. Burnett.  Reasons: 
1.4 (b) and (d). 
 
¶1. (C) Summary: Officials for New Zealand's Ministry of 
Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) and the Australia High 
Commission in Wellington continue to follow closely the 
implications of Samoa's March 31 general election.  Both 
recognize the potential for improved governance following the 
announcement of Cabinet assignments on April 21, but are 
concerned about the law and order portfolios. End Summary. 
 
¶2. (U) Samoa's Electoral Commissioner on April 13 announced 
official polling results from Samoa's March 31 general 
election.  The Human Rights Protection Party (HRPP) retained 
control of government by gaining 35 of the 49 seats.  The 
Samoan Democratic United Party (SDUP) holds ten seats, with 
the remaining four seats going to independents.  On April 21 
the GOS announced Cabinet assignments (see ref A). 
 
¶3. (C) Prime Minister Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi 
appointed five new ministers, former Speaker Toleafoa Apulu 
Faafisi, Niko Lee Hang, new female MP Gatoloaifaana Amataga 
Alesana Gidlow, Unasa Mesi Galo and Taua Tavaga Kitiona 
Seuala.  Two former ministers, Palusalue Faapo II 
(Communications and Information Technology) and Hans Joachim 
Keil (Commerce, Industry and Labor), were not re-appointed to 
Cabinet.  MFAT says that in Keil's case, there had been 
speculation that his reduced electoral support in the 
two-seat Individual Voters constituency would work against 
his inclusion in Cabinet.  MFAT also believes Kiel was 
affected negatively by press on Samoa's WTO accession 
proceedings, published proximate to the election. 
 
¶4. (C) The former ministers of justice and police were not 
reelected, and both MFAT and the High Commission expressed 
particular concern about the law and justice sector, 
especially basic law enforcement capabilities and the ability 
to prosecute criminal cases and bring them to trial. 
Controversial former Speaker Toleafoa Apulu Faafisi 
(Toleafoa) is now Minister for Police, Prisons and Fire 
Services.  According to the Australians, key Apia-based 
sources describe Toleafoa's appointment as disappointing. 
During the last term of government, Toleafoa was regularly 
accused of favoring the Government during his time as 
Speaker, resulting in a complaint by SDUP Deputy Leader 
Asiata Saleimoa Vaai to the International Parliamentary 
Union.  A longtime HRPP stalwart, Toleafoa was more recently 
accused of using heavy-handed tactics at the village level 
during the election, according to MFAT.  Neither MFAT nor 
Australia expect Toleafoa to perform strongly and it is 
likely the Prime Minister will directly oversee key aspects 
of the portfolio.  The absence of a capable minister in the 
portfolio may impede the reform process. 
 
¶5. (C) Deputy Prime Minister Misa Telefoni Retzlaff lost the 
prestigious Cabinet post of Finance Minister to Niko Lee 
Hang, who topped the poll in the 2006 election in the 
Individual Voters candidacy.  While somewhat surprising that 
Lee Hang was elevated to this leading position, his 
assignment reflects the confidence that PM Tuilaepa places on 
his accounting and business qualifications, according to 
MFAT.  Lee Hang is a chartered accountant.  The Deputy Prime 
Minister picked up the Trade and Tourism portfolio. 
 
¶6. (C) After holding the education, sports and culture 
portfolio for fifteen years, Fiame Naomi Mataafa was 
appointed as Minister for Women, Community and Social 
Development.  The prior minister retired from Parliament. 
Fiame is well-regarded locally and has considerable 
influence, but MFAT says the women's affairs portfolio is 
significantly under-funded and effective progress will be 
challenging.  Fiame is also responsible for the Public 
Service Commission and the Ombudsman's Office.  The 
Australian High Commission sees Fiame's appointment as a 
positive outcome for public sector reform and good governance 
objectives. 
 
¶7. (C) The only other woman Cabinet minister, new MP 
Gatoloaifaana Amataga Alesana Gidlow (Gatoloai), was 
appointed Minister of Health.  Replacing the controversial 
former Health Minister and current Party Whip Mulitalo 
Sealiimalietoa Siafausa Vui, Gatoloai is the daughter of 
former Prime Minister Tofilau Eti.  The Australians described 
the reassignment of Mulitalo as another positive move for 
 
governance.  Mulitalo remains the subject of persist rumors 
that he played a leading role in ongoing corruption scandals 
in the Health Ministry.  According to the Australian High 
Commission, Mulitalo's appointment as Minister for 
Communication and Information Technology is drawing valid 
criticism that HRPP's abuse of the government-owned media is 
likely to continue. 
 
¶8. (SBU) Faumuina Tiatia Ligua was moved from the esteemed 
public works portfolio to the natural resources and 
environment portfolio.  In his previous role as Public Works 
Minister, he ironically was often in confrontation with the 
Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment. 
 
¶9. (C) Comment: Samoa is as the Kiwis are fond of saying, "a 
bright spot in the Pacific." But as their and the 
Australians' analyses show, the country will have its share 
of challenges in the months ahead. End Comment. 
Burnett