6 Apr 2015

Cooks to hold Aitutaki flight referendum

9:53 am on 6 April 2015

The Cook Islands Prime Minister, Henry Puna, says he will organise a referendum on Aitutaki over whether to maintain Sunday flights between the island and Rarotonga.

Mr Puna says there has been ongoing tension over the flights since they were introduced six years ago as those opposed to them say Sunday is a sacred day when businesses should not operate.

During the recent Vaipae-Tautu by-election campaign on Aitutaki, he promised that he would put the issue to a vote, should his Cook Islands Party win.

Mr Puna now says the referendum will be organised as soon as it is practicable.

In February, an opposition MP from Aitutaki, Teina Bishop, spoke out against such a vote.

He said a referendum has to be decided by the whole country and to put Sunday flights into a referendum where the whole country decides was silly.

The last by-election win has consolidated the Cook Islands Party's majority which had been at risk because of a raft of petitions lodged after last July's general election.

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Photo: supplied

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