8 Nov 2002

Cook Islands justice minister sacked from cabinet

11:56 am on 8 November 2002

The Cook Islands justice minister, Norman George, has been sacked.

The prime minister, Dr Robert Woonton, says the decision to sack him has the support of all members of the coalition government.

Mr George's portfolios, which also include health, the environment and outer island affairs, have been taken over by the prime minister.

Florence Syme-Buchanan reports.

"It's the second time Norman George has been dumped by a coalition government because they don't trust him. Less than 18 months ago, he was sacked by Prime Minister Dr Terepai Maoate who said at the time that George had made unreasonable demands in the budget and his government no longer had confidence in him. As leader of the New Alliance Party, with two other members in the coalition government, Mr George's sacking may threaten an already fragile coalition arrangement, but political observers here speculate that the coalition government will be more unified without Norman George."