6 Nov 2003

Two Cook Islands cabinet ministers resign

11:09 am on 6 November 2003

Two members of the Cook Islands government have resigned.

Deputy prime minister Dr Terepai Maoate and justice minister Tangata Vavia

resigned yesterday after Dr Maoate tabled a motion of no confidence in the government

Earlier reports said the prime minister, Dr Robert Woonton, had dumped the two

after what he described as an attempted coup d'etat

The no confidence motion made little progress, with House Speaker, Sir Pupuke Robati suspending Parliament immediately after Dr Maoate's address.

The Speaker recalled the house to continue the session less than two hours later.

The session had begun with the swearing-in of former MP, Teina Bishop, whose resignation prompted a by-election in his Aitutaki constituency.

Mr Bishop, who resigned as a protest against what he considered the government's inadequate budget allocation for Aitutaki, was declared the new member after his nomination was the only one filed by the deadline last Friday.

The Democratic Party which was expected to challenge for the seat, failed to file a nomination after its proposed candidate, Ronald Henry, left for New Zealand two weeks ago.