19 Nov 2003

Cook Islands group wants government to include anti-party hopping legislation

8:35 am on 19 November 2003

There is a call for the Cook Islands government to include an anti-party hopping clause in its new Electoral Bill.

Elizabeth Ponga of the Group for Political Change says she's learnt that the prime minister, Dr Robert Woonton, has changed his mind and plans to introduce legislation to prevent no confidence motions instead.

A special committee set up early this year to review the Electoral Act recommended that party hopping should be stopped.

Ms Ponga says this advice is now being ignored but should be reconsidered.

"Actually, it takes away the right of the democratic process, the right of people to make a decision when they feel that things are not going right, their way for members of parliament to actually have a say if the government is not performing, if the government is not being accountable, if the government is not doing things that they said they would."

Ms Ponga says the proposal to prevent the tabling of no confidence motions for the first two years of a parliamentary term came about after the leadership struggle between Dr Woonton and former deputy PM, Dr Terepai Maoate.