Opposition Message To Cooks PM: ‘Take A Hike’

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Opposition parties demand that Puna accept defeat

By Phillipa Webb

RAROTONGA, Cook Islands (Cook Islands News, Dec. 31, 2014) – Prime Minister Henry Puna should take a hike, and a new government should be formed in the New Year.

That’s the latest message from the Democratic Party and One Cook Islands, neither of whom support Prime Minister Henry Puna’s defiant efforts to stay on as Prime Minister, says Demo leader Wilkie Rasmussen.

"He should accept defeat and leave with the little dignity he has left, or else he will go down in history as a PM unceremoniously booted out of office."

It is now common knowledge to all that Puna made a dreadful mistake when he called a snap election last July, says Rasmussen.

"The most obvious spin-off from his personal decision is the breakdown of his Government and its ongoing lack of direction.

"All the Democrats and One Cook Islands did was take up his invitation to fight, and indeed won that fight. The honorable thing for him to do is resign."

The problem with Henry Puna is he thinks being Prime Minister is a personal entitlement, something he owns, says Rasmussen.

"I also think he believes he himself is the country.

"To me that’s a sign, he needs to go promptly, because the Demo and One Cook Islands parties will wrestle him down until he succumbs. The message is that the country needs new leadership. Puna’s time is up."

Puna also says he is relying on the result of the Mitiaro appeal, says Rasmussen.

"The appeal is merely wishful thinking. The fact of the matter is the Demos have now won the seat and even if the recent by-election gets counted, it will be a win for the Demos."

While the Demos and One Cook Islands are focusing on the Aitutaki by-election, they will also continue to appeal to the public and to the Queen’s Representative to sack the Prime Minister and his government and appoint the majority government, says Rasmussen.

They will also again raise the issues of irregularity in the Parliamentary procedures that ended with Henry Puna’s election as Prime Minister.

"Again, the fact of the matter is that the country was still in election mode with the Mitiaro matters still being sorted out. It is only when all election matters are resolved that a Prime Minister can be appointed by Parliament.

"Here again, the majority rules. The Democratic Party and One Cook Islands have that majority.

They should now form a Government and have that confirmed in Parliament in the New Year."

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