"I ALMOST QUIT": COOK ISLANDS PRIME MINISTER MAOATE

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By Moana Moeka’a

AVARUA, Rarotonga, Cook Islands (August 1 2001 -- Cook Islands News)---The Prime Minister nearly threw in the towel in discussions leading up to the formulation of the current budget.

"I felt like resigning -- that was one of the options," said Dr. Terepai Maoate, after the tabling of the 2001/2002 budget in Parliament yesterday.

"I just felt angry and frustrated and I just felt like giving up. It was very difficult to reason with him as far as I was concerned," said Dr Maoate in a clear reference to former Deputy Prime Minister Norman George, whom he sacked last week.

"But if I did that, it was running away from the problem, if there ever was a problem. However, I was determined to make sure that it was not going to happen whatever the consequences.

"I don’t believe that there was any threat to my leadership, but I did feel like resigning in those few days."

George was not in the House yesterday. His seat is now directly behind Maoate’s, right beside the independent member Tepure Tapaitau.

However, George has been spotted driving the government vehicle with the "DPM" plates over the past couple of days.

 

SACKED DEPUTY PM GEORGE BACKS COOK ISLANDS GOVERNMENT

AVARUA, Rarotonga, Cook Islands (August 1, 2001 – Radio Australia)---Sacked Cook Islands Deputy Prime Minister and New Alliance Party leader Norman George has guaranteed his allegiance to the coalition government.

Mr. George says despite his sacking last week by Prime Minister Dr. Terepai Maoate, the coalition between the New Alliance Party and the Democratic Alliance Party remains intact.

He says it is important that there is stability in the Cook Islands, now celebrating 100 years of association with New Zealand and the 36th anniversary of self-government.

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia.

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