COOK ISLANDS NEWS POLL SHOWS COOK ISLANDS PRIME MINISTER HENRY PREFERRED

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By Florence Syme-Buchanan

RAROTONGA, Cook Islands (May 1, 1999 - Cook Islands News)---The favorite party is the Democratic-Alliance, the preferred prime minister is Sir Geoffrey Henry and the most important thing the new government should do is improve the economy and pay off debts.

Those are the main results from a 'Rarotonga-only' random telephone political poll carried out by Cook Islands News reporters last Wednesday night.

THE LEADERSHIP

With 27% support of the 100 people polled, Prime Minister Sir Geoffrey is just ahead in the leadership stakes.

But the results of Cook Islands News' random telephone poll will be of little comfort to the ruling Cook Islands Party or the opposition parties.

It will be worrying to the three main political parties that the general election is just over a month away and yet 24% of those polled on Rarotonga said they wanted nobody as prime minister, they won't vote or are undecided on the leadership issue.

DAP leader Dr. Terepai Maoate scored 23% support for preferred prime minister.

THE PARTIES

Twelve percent of the people polled didn't want any of the three political party leaders for prime minister. They instead chose either Iaveta Short, Ngamau Munokoa, Eddie Drollett, Tupou Faireka or themselves.

The New Alliance Party did not fare well in the Rarotonga poll.

NAP leader, Atiu MP Norman George, scored just 4% support, the same as Justice Minister Tiki Matapo.

DAP deputy leader Dr. Robert Woonton and Sir Thomas Davis each registered 3% support.

TIME FOR CHANGE

The DAP got the thumbs up from 37% and the most popular reason given for voting for that party was "time for change."

Thirty-one percent of the people surveyed said they didn't want any of the political parties.

At third place was the CIP with 25% support - and most of those people said they would vote for the party because they had always done so or were "born a CIP."

The entire 7% support NAP received was from people who said it was the best party with good policies and a good leader.

Ten people said none of the parties were any good or they couldn't be trusted.

No one opted for the recently incorporated Cook Islands People's Party.

MAJOR ISSUES

Other major issues people said the new government should tackle were 17% who want health and education improved, 16% want the present government to tidy up its mess, 15% named more jobs as a being of major importance and 12% didn't know what to decide on.

Other issues cited in the survey included more help for the elderly and that the next government should introduce political reforms. Two percent of the people polled chose the unusual, one caller saying the first thing the new government should do is "praise God."

For additional reports from the Cook Islands News Online, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/Cook Islands New Online.

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