Cook Islands Democratic Party Selects New Leader

Tina Browne replaces William “Smiley” Heather with overwhelming support

By Cameron Scott 

RAROTONGA, Cook Islands (Cook Islands News, April 13, 2017) – Rarotonga lawyer Tina Browne is the new president of the Democratic Party.

Browne was elected to the position yesterday on the final day of the Demo Party’s annual conference.

She replaces William “Smiley” Heather.

While there was no official word on the leadership change before CI News went to print, the election result was widely predicted in the days leading up to the conference.

A media statement released late yesterday afternoon said Browne, had been elected with a clear majority and would bring a wealth of energy, knowledge and experience to the role.

“In her speech to the delegates, Browne quoted the words of (former US president) Barack Obama and urged the delegates and supporters to, ‘be the change you want to make’, the statement said. 

Browne said she was humbled by the confidence shown in her by her Democratic Party colleagues and excited by the opportunity to work with the party’s team to create a new future for all Cook Islanders. 

“I wish to acknowledge the work done by the outgoing leader, Smiley Heather, who is a dedicated advocate for his people and such a good friend to the party.”

It is understood a bid by Opposition parliamentary leader Rose Brown to stand for the position was rejected on the grounds that she had missed the cut-off date for candidates to declare their interest.

“It was put to the members, but they decided that she was too late,” a party spokesman said.

Sean Willis and Tupou Faireka were appointed co-presidents after a successful motion was passed to alter the party constitution to allow for the change. They will be supported by vice-presidents George Hosking, Sir Fred Goodwin and Henrica Wilson Marona.

Piltz Napa was elected treasurer, Tua Dyer was chosen as auditor and Eddie Drollett was returned as secretary-general.

A motion was also passed to recognise the work of party stalwarts by appointing three patrons: Iaveta Short, Harmon Pou and Ngamau Munokoa (Aunty Mau).

“The Democratic Party wishes to thank all participants and to congratulate all new appointees,” the statement said.

Cook Islands News
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