Major Niue constitutional amendments have passed through their second reading in the Niue Assembly.

The Niue Assembly has passed amendments to the constitution including changing the title change from ‘Premier’ to ‘Prime Minister’.

The Premier has previously been a title used for Crown Colonies, whereas the title of Prime Minister is typically used for self-governing countries, of which Niue has been one for nearly 50 years.

The amendments passed their second reading in the assembly with a two-thirds majority. Other proposed amendments include increasing the number of Cabinet Ministers from four to six and increasing each Assembly term from three years to four.

There is also a change of reference in the Constitution from ‘Audit Office’ to ‘Auditor-General’.

Premier Tagelegi said that the proposed changes signified Niue’s increasing focus on their self-governance and the island’s own Pacific identity.

“This year Niue will be celebrating 50 years of self-governing, and so these amendments such as moving to the title of Prime Minister and a larger Cabinet reflect that.”

Premier Tagelagi says that while it is encouraging to see the bill pass through a second reading, there is still more work to be done to get all the proposed amendments approved.

Premier Tagelagi adds there will be a mandated stand-down period of 13 weeks to provide the Niue public with the opportunity to carefully consider the proposed constitutional changes as part of our 50th anniversary.

The Niue Assembly is expected to reconvene in August for the third reading.