19 Feb 2004

Still no firm date for resumption of Cook Islands parliament.

11:35 am on 19 February 2004

The Cook Islands parliament still has no confirmed date for its first 2004 sitting, despite the prime minister earlier indicating it would be in March.

Observers say the delay in setting a date for resumption of parliament is due to the government's fear that a no-confidence motion could be passed, or if a supplementary budget is tabled, that it could be blocked.

Either of these scenarios would lead to the calling of parliamentary elections.

As to the chance of a supplementary budget being tabled, the Cook Islands News reports a senior finance ministry official, Kevin Carr, saying his department is reviewing the current economic situation and will be making a "recommendation" to the finance minister on his return from overseas.

Mr Carr did say he is concerned at an increase in public expenditure this financial year.