21 Dec 2004

Cook Islands Prime Minister's office denies Cook Islands Party has all the key portfolios

2:25 pm on 21 December 2004

The Cook Islands prime minister's office denies suggestions the Cook Islands Party holds the upper hand in cabinet.

The premier has in the past held the foreign affairs portfolio, but Jim Marurai of the Demo Tumu party has handed over responsibility to Tom Marsters of the Cook Islands Party.

The deputy prime minister, Sir Geoffrey Henry, holds all the finance-related offices.

The prime minister's chief of staff, Helen Wong, says members of the Cook Islands Party aren't in charge of the key ministries of health and tourism.

"Tourism is the main industry for our country, and that's actually being held by the honourable Piho Rua, who's the new member of parliament, he's the member for Rakahanga, so I wouldn't say that it's all been handed out to the partner of the coalition government."

Helen Wong says the prime minister sees foreign affairs as important but he allowed Tom Marsters to have the job so he could act as an advisor.