A Cook Islands opposition MP says the public service can't be reformed until corruption in politics is tackled first.
The Democratic Party MP for Murienua, James Beer, says opposition colleagues told a panel on the public service last week they want to avoid at all costs a repeat of the situation in 1996, where a large number of public servants lost their jobs and left the country.
Mr Beer says the public service has become too large and expensive and is the tool politicians choose for "political sponsorship, nepotism and favours".
He says current Government MPs are at fault.
However, the Public Service Commissioner, Russell Thomas, says it's up to political leaders to make a decision on such reforms.