21 Jul 2004

Cook Islands party goes ahead with plans to visit Pukapuka

1:19 pm on 21 July 2004

The Cook Islands Party says it is going ahead with plans to send its leader, Sir Geoffrey Henry, to campaign in the outer island of Pukapuka.

The CIP's secretary-general, Temu Okotai, says a request by the mayor and the island's sole MP, Democrat Tiaki Wuatai, for parties to stay away ahead of the elections, is politically motivated.

Mr Okotai says Sir Geoffrey is going to Pukapuka tomorrow as planned.

"All the three people who signed this letter are well known Democratic supporters. And, there was no discussion. The island council is the overall administration of the island. Many of the councillors weren't aware of this letter - that a letter was written and a decision was made not to allow the leaders of the parties to come there."

The Pukapuka mayor, Mataa Aumatangi, says the request is not politically motivated but there had been a lot of trouble prior to elections previously.

He says it became so bad after twenty years, that a peace summit was signed in 2002 and they don't want a repeat of the problems.