2 May 2005

Cooks government reshuffle brings Rasmussen into cabinet

6:14 pm on 2 May 2005

The Cook Islands Queen's Representative is tomorrow due to swear in Wilkie Rasmussen as a new minister to replace Piho Rua who quit his culture and tourism portfolis at the end of last week.

Mr Rasmussen of the Cook Islands Party is the country's former high commissioner to New Zealand and now the fourth party member to join the coalition led by the prime minister, Jim Marurai, of the Tumu Enua Party.

In a statement, Mr Marurai says the change follows ongoing controversy over the way Mr Rua has handled the culture ministry.

The opposition leader, Dr Terepai Maoate, says Mr Rua's resignation is the outcome of the political discontent within the coalition government.

Dr Maoate says the problem in government now is that they are getting hit with numerous controversies and feeling their impact.