Cooks Opposition Leader Frustrated By 'Dirty Politics', 'Lack Of Political Reform'

Wants to form a government of national unity across parties

RAROTONGA, Cook Islands (Cook Islands News, July 30, 2016) – Parliamentary opposition leader Rose Brown has made an impassioned plea to be able to state her position regarding the recent political upheavals.

In an exclusive statement to CI News yesterday, Brown, who is clearly frustrated by attempts by both the CIP government and the opposition coalition to speak on her behalf without her direct input, says she wants to form a Government of National Unity.

Brown, MP for Atiu’s Teenui-Mapumai electorate, says she doesn’t want to be part of a political system where the members argue with each other

And she has also revealed that the CIP executive recently voted in favour of prime minister Henry Puna standing down.

Brown, who became leader following an unsuccessful attempt by the opposition coalition to take over the government and install her as prime minister, says she wants to be part of a Government of National Unity that combines the best people of all parties to achieve the Cook Islands’ national objectives under its National Sustainable Development Plan.

“As a Cook Islands Party member of the Cook Islands Parliament for the constituency of Teenui-Mapumai on the Island of Atiu, please allow me to state my position with the recent political developments in our small country of only 13,000 people,” Brown said.

“The recent events where a group went to parliament in June to continue after the Budget sitting, have been well reported and we await a proper ruling on what happened over those days.

“However, I am shocked at the level of dirty politics of the last few years, and this must stop.

“I am also shocked at the failure of all politicians to carry out political reform by reducing the number of seats in our parliament, in line with our falling country and sister islands populations. Politicians have talked about reform for over 20 years, but so far have only ever managed to remove the Overseas Seat from our parliament.

“Last year in 2015 was our 50th birthday celebration of being in free association with New Zealand. This should have been the year where all our politicians got together and progressed political reform in parliament as their gift to our people. We could have shown our people that we could really lead them. But we failed.

“And we failed because too many politicians put their own interest above the interests of the people who vote them in to power.

“I am not interested in the power, I am interested in helping my people, no matter what they think about politics or the people who continue to feed off the system. “That is why I have joined as a CIP in a partnership with the Democratic Party and One Cook Islands.

I have not left the CIP, and my voters in Atiu are well aware of that position. They have shown their support recently on radio and TV.

“The Democratic Party and One Cook Islands Party thought my idea was a good one and elected me as the Leader of the Unity in Parliament, but not as the leader of the opposition.

“So in my effort to first get the politicians together and think as one for the benefit of the people, I have succeeded in half of what I want to do.

“Next is to ask the CIP to join with my idea, and then we can have a real government of National Unity.”

Brown said she wants to do this as there are talented people in all the political parties.

“We should use all the resources that we have available in our efforts to make the Cook Islands a better place to live and work.

“That means some or all of each of the political sides coming together and shaking hands to form a Government of National Unity.”

So the present political situation was clear to all Cook Islanders, Brown said she wanted to reveal that the CIP executive had recently voted in favour of prime minister Henry Puna standing down.

“I ask that the CIP tell you the reason why.

“If this (the PM standing down) were to happen, then I believe we would have a better chance of unity.”

Cook Islands News
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