COOKS POLITICAL REFORM CONFERENCE POSTPONED

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Indefinite delay due to cyclone recovery needs

By Helen Greig RAROTONGA, Cook Islands (Cook Islands News, March 13, 2010) - The political reform conference which Prime Minister Jim Marurai was to host last month has been postponed indefinitely, according to his office.

OPM Chief of Staff Mac Mokoroa says the conference has been put off due to the office’s involvement in the Aitutaki cyclone recovery program.

He says the office will now liaise with political reform advocates Iaveta Short and Tata Crocombe as to when a date can be set for the conference.

In January Marurai announced plans to host the conference to hear public views on political reform issues following the release of a 12-point proposal on political reform compiled by Short and Crocombe.

Crocombe and Short were to chair the conference which was to invite presentations from such groups as political parties and non-government organizations.

Crocombe heads the economic development taskforce which has proposed political reform as a major step toward economic growth. Short has not only been involved in politics for much of his life but also headed the 1998 commission of political review which first proposed a reform to a new system based on the country’s needs.

Marurai wants to know if there is a national consensus and preference for political reform and has been encouraging public support of the 12-point proposal.

Last month Marurai’s office invited written submissions on political reform in the lead up to the conference discussions.

The 12 recommended reforms are:

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