11 Sep 2003

Cooks parliament votes for reforms

11:26 am on 11 September 2003

Members from both sides of the House in the Cook Islands parliament have passed two crucial pieces of reform.

The third reading of the constitutional amendment number 26 abolishes the overseas seat.

Number 27 was passed straight afterwards and clears the way for government to put the five-year term to a referendum at the next general elections, shortening it to four years.

Elizabeth Ponga, for the group for political change, says the passing of the bills means an important hurdle has been overcome in the process of reform in the Cook Islands

"It doesn't mean to say that the battle has not been won yet, no, no, no. So there's some other issues to be looked at, for instance like party-hopping, because we want stability in our parliament, instead of having coalition governments whenever they decide to have one, and which causes instability as you have seen over the last three to four years there have been five coalition governments and it doesn't work at all."