20 Nov 2002

Letter sent to Cook Islands opposition leader demanding support for changes

6:03 pm on 20 November 2002

An open letter has been sent to the Cook Islands opposition leader, Dr Terepai Maoate, calling on him to support changes to the constitution over political reform.

The letter, which was signed by the co-ordinator of the Political Review conference, Helen Wong, and other key figures in Dr Maoate's electorate, says that the interests of the people need to be put ahead of political ambition and self interest.

Pressure is being put on the government to, among other things, reduce the number of MPs in parliament, abolish the overseas seat and reduce the term of parliament from five to three years.

Ms Wong says they want Dr Maoate's support because the government doesn't have the two-thirds majority needed in parliament to change the constitution.

"Whilst Maoate has said that he is in favour of reform, he hasn't really sort of come out and said how he could support that. We are hopeful that he will support us. I mean in his 1999 manifesto, he said that he would be in favour of political reform."

Dr Maoate is part of the parliamentary select committee on political reform which is accepting submissions until the 28th of this month.