3 Sep 2003

Cook Islands ruling party to support reforms

5:01 pm on 3 September 2003

The president of the ruling Democratic party in the Cook Islands, Iaveta Short, says their MPs continue to support proposed reform laws.

He says although there's been some opposition from both sides of the house to the constitutional amendments, Democratic MPs will be voting for the abolition of the overseas seat and a shorter term of parliament.

A two-thirds majority is required for both amendments to be passed into law.

Mr Short says the difficulty will be in persuading the opposition MPs to support the changes.

"There's no change of mind from the Democratic Party caucus, but I think they are uncomfortable with putting something to parliament, and having it defeated because they did not have the two thirds majority. but I'm not worried about that because what will happen is it'll focus the eye of the people against those MP's who refuse to support."

Mr Short says he expects parliament to sit within the next couple of weeks when the third and final reading on the amendments will occur.

Iaveta Short was chairman of the 1998 Commission of Inquiry into political review, whose recommendations have, until now, largely been ignored by the last five governments.