Since the first NIIP (National Infrastructure Investment Plan) was prepared in 2010, an estimated T$300 million invested in economic infrastructure projects (note that all costs are in Tongan pa’anga, T$). This includes around:
- T$100 million in road rehabilitation and upgrade projects;
- T$60 million in electricity generation and distribution upgrades;
- T$30 million in telecommunications upgrades.
In addition, there is a further range of investment projects already underway or committed The complete list of future investment projects identified by the 2013 NIIP includes 74 projects spread across the economic infrastructure sectors, totalling around T$560 million of investment over the next five years; and an additional T$130 million in years five to 10.
Air and seaports other than Nukualofa can be quickly overwhelmed by surge and further choke points likely at the points of embarkation and debarkation for inter-island air and sea. Military assets are usually best equipped and organised to ease this, certainly for heavy lifting as there are no cranes or reliable Material Handling Equipment (MHE) at ports other than Nukualofa.
Some of the Islands are 12 hours by ship from the capital. Air options are expensive. Responses to outer islands will probably require interim staging areas where cargo will have to be broken down into smaller packets that can be transported by small boats etc.
During the wet / cyclonic seasons, days of torrential rain may flood properties and roads, cut power and water supplies, closing accesses to villages or even small towns. Authorities may issue safety warnings to limit access to roads networks only to 4-wheels drives. And during torrential rain events, there is risk of flash floods throughout low-lying areas of the hilly islands, making movement hazardous. Coastal areas and roads are increasingly dangerous during the cyclonic season (Nov – Apr).