3 Feb 2003

Cook Islands lobby group again calls for political reform

5:25 pm on 3 February 2003

Lobbyists for political reform are calling on the Cook Islands government to fulfill its promise of overhauling the political system now that it has the numbers in parliament.

Elizabeth Ponga from the Group for Political Change says a government claim that it has 17 seats in parliament is enough to introduce policies to ensure political stability.

She says the prime minister, Dr Robert Woonton, should take the opportunity for reform promised last year.

Last week, Dr Woonton sacked his deputy, Sir Geoffrey Henry, and replaced him with opposition leader, Dr Terepai Maoate, forming the 6th government in four years.

Mrs Ponga says the ease with which governments change because of the shifting allegiances of politicians is exactly what her group is against

She says political reform must happen now.

"There should be no reason to defer the implementation of the reform process that we've been asking all along. They've got the numbers and the will to carry it out is within their corner now so if they don't carry it out as they've been talking about reform, that they were in for it, then there must be something wrong."

Elizabeth Ponga of the Group for Political Change in Cook Islands.