5 Sep 2002

Cook Islands government says future of overseas seat will be discussed

11:20 am on 5 September 2002

The Cook Islands government says the future of the overseas seat, which is held by Dr Joe Williams, will be discussed.

The deputy prime minister, Sir Geoffrey Henry says, however, that the issue is unlikely to come up soon as there are more pressing matters to be dealt with.

Sir Geoffrey says he and others have been quite open with Dr Williams about the fact that the seat is likely to go.

"The overseas seat has seen its time and it has served its purporse. My feeling is that it is quite possible to attend to the needs of Cook Islanders overseas through a ministerial portfolio that can be attached for example to the portfolio of the Minister for foreign affairs"

Sir Geoffrey says the overseas seat will remain in place for the time being as the budget allocated the funds for it.

And, he says the questions raised about the 100,000 dollars set aside for Dr Williams under the ministerial support fund are spurious because the money is for running an office.