3 Dec 2010

New Cooks PM expresses confidence in new cabinet

2:12 pm on 3 December 2010

The Cook Islands prime minister says he has the utmost confidence in his newly appointed cabinet ministers being able to work with him and lead the country.

Henry Puna has announced that Tom Marsters will be the deputy Prime Minister, while Mark Brown, Teina Bishop, Teariki Heather and Nandi Glassie will be ministers.

Mr Puna says his government is committed to providing collective leadership and it is important to have cabinet installed quickly as there are urgent matters to attend to regarding airlines servicing the country and the tourism industry.

The prime minister is expected to announce tomorrow the distribution of portfolios to cabinet ministers and the appointment of a new speaker of Parliament who is expected to be from outside of the Cook Islands Party caucus.

Mr Puna says his government will ensure the public is kept informed of government decisions.

Florence Syme-Buchanan reports from the Cook Islands

"During his first media conference, the prime minister was told local media had not enjoyed open dialogue with the previous administration and that cabinet services had never been forthcoming with information concerning decisions made by cabinet. In promising transparency, Mr Puna said his administration would want to establish good relations with the media and there would be free exchange of information. In contrast to the previous government, Mr Puna said it was his intention to have regular media briefings. The prime minister said he would be looking to the media to assist with disseminating government information. The Office of the prime minister says they will be drafting a media policy and strategy in consultation with heads of ministries - but didn't confirm if media would also be consulted."