12 Dec 2011

Talks fail to avert legal fight over control of community group

10:38 am on 12 December 2011

The battle for control of a Cook Islands community group is heading back to the High Court in Auckland after failed talks.

Some members of the Pukapuka Community of New Zealand are trying to remove its president, Nuku Rapana, over concerns the society is in debt and could lose its properties as well as Government funding.

The case will go to court next year after Mr Rapana rejected a proposal for urgent elections overseen by an independent chairman.

Mr Rapana's lawyer says his client will instead chair an annual meeting next month to present the society's accounts and hold elections.

The lawyer for the dissenting group says that is unacceptable and it is unlikely the society will survive until the AGM because its bank accounts are nearly empty.