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Petition calls for end of ‘back room’ dealings

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Dec. 28, 2009) – A political reform campaigner in the Cook Islands says the latest Cabinet reshuffle by Prime Minister, Jim Marurai, shows the need for reform.

Mr Marurai dumped his deputy Sir Terepai Maoate, blaming him for the fiasco surrounding the failed bid to buy the Toa fuel tank farm.

In a legal settlement over the bid the Government has agreed to pay out more than one point two million US dollars.

Three Ministers in Sir Terepai’s Democratic Party resigned in sympathy and they have been replaced in Cabinet.

Among the new Cabinet Ministers is Wilkie Rasmussen, who was removed as Foreign Minister last July and later sacked from the Democratic Party.

Teina McKenzie, who has been running a petition calling for reform, wants a smaller, more responsive legislature.

She says the latest reshuffle shows politicians are not focussed on the welfare of the people.

"I am very confident that everyone will realise that the system we have in place is allowing for too much back room dealings and wranglings to keep power and privilege [with] those who currently have it, rather than looking at the benefit for our countrymen."

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