A Cook Islands MP Norman George says a stoush over tax on pensions may not have flared up if the prime minister and finance minister were attending to their duties.
Under the government's compliance programme, New Zealand superannuitants living in the Cook Islands are required to pay 25 percent on any income over 10,000 dollars.
The president of the newly-formed Cooks Islands Grey Power says although pensioners are prepared to pay a one percent tax, they want the thousands of dollars they owe in arrears scrapped.
Mr George says the government has been cruel to pensioners.
"We don't know where our prime minister is, whether he's in Singapore or New Caledonia, he's never around and neither is the minister of finance so if these people stopped travelling and stay home and solve these problems it'll make the life of our pensioners a lot easier and they deserve a lot more support and sympathy from the government."
Norman George says with the general election only a year away, the government should watch how it treats retirees.