COOK ISLANDS PRIME MINISTER TRIMS STAFF

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, July 6) – The office of the Cook Islands Prime Minister has terminated some staff members in an effort to address overstaffing.

The Prime Minister Jim Marurai has confirmed that journalist Florence Syme-Buchanan, who was based in the office as manager of broadcasting, and Helen Wong, who acted as a consultant, have both been cut from the office.

Mr Marurai says that as there is no allocation in the current budget for broadcasting, there is no need for anyone to be employed on a full time basis in his office.

The Cook Islands News reports that the Prime Minister’s office has also seen a number of transfers of staff to other ministries.

Meanwhile, the office of the speaker of parliament, Norman George, which was responsible for specialist services, has also undergone a staff cut.

The finance minister Sir Geoffry Henry, in last week’s budget address, highlighted the need for public service reform, promising to review employment guidelines to ensure that jobs are given on the basis of merit, not patronage.

July 7, 2005

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

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