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Marurai says threat of no-confidence motion too great

By Helen Greig RAROTONGA, Cook Islands (Cook Islands News, Jan. 13, 2010) – In the Cook Islands, Parliament is unlikely to sit until government is forced to table a budget in July, says Prime Minister Jim Marurai.

The PM says the threat from the 19 MPs outside of cabinet to have him removed by a vote of no confidence when parliament sits is too great to consider calling a sitting.

"The danger will come when we go to parliament," he says of the threat to the new five-member cabinet.

He admits he would have the support of only the four cabinet ministers if he faced a no-confidence vote.

Marurai says the only other way parliament may be forced to sit now is if the NZ$1.75 million [US$1.3 million] settlement payout to Toa Petroleum following the fuel farm lawsuit must be paid before a new budget can be passed.

Parliament’s calendar tentatively marks late February for the first sitting of the year but the PM may not be forced to call a sitting unless the Toagate funds have to be paid before the end of July when a budget must be tabled in the house.

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