31 Jul 2002

Call for political reform in the Cook Islands

10:31 am on 31 July 2002

The budget has been presented in the Cook Islands parliament amid calls for political reform and much more money for education.

The president of the chamber of commerce, Ewan Smith, says the 2.7 million U.S. dollars allocated for the education sector is not enough and funding should be doubled.

Mr Smith also says there's an urgent need to act on political reform.

"I don't think anybody disagrees with that. We currently have a very lopsided representation in parliament. Its not proportional to the population at all. Its not propotional to the economic needs. So while we have this sort of horse-trading that this current situation promotes, it is going to be very difficult to take a different economic direction."

Mr Smith says there are groups outside parliament discussing the need for political reform and who want to see changes made.

A report on political reform was compiled but nothing has been done about it.