14 Jul 2004

Cook Islands public service to remain neutral during elections says commissioner

10:20 am on 14 July 2004

The Cook Islands public service commissioner is advising heads of ministries to refrain from employing people prior to, or during, the elections.

And, Maine Brown, is warning public servants not to participate in politics during working hours.

Mr Brown says he wants the public service to maintain its neutrality and integrity in the face of elections being held in September.

And, he says he's told the heads of ministries that any promotions or employment should wait.

"I've reminded the heads of ministries that it's not the likely time to be able to promote any employment that it envisaged. And, the budget itself may well be delayed till well after the election. In that way, we may be able to have an equal and level playing field for all candidates."

Mr Brown says public servants who want to participate further can apply to take annual leave but the decision to grant it will be up to the heads of ministries.