22 Sep 2004

Atiu in the Cook Islands wants portfolios given to outer islands MPs

1:14 pm on 22 September 2004

There's been a call for more power to be given to the outer islands in the Cook Islands.

The mayor of Atiu, Aneru Tautu, says the incoming Democratic party government should look at allocating portfolios to outer island MPs because they are the only reason they're in power.

The Democrats have won 14 of the 24 seats in the elections but there are numerous petitions that have been lodged with the courts over results.

Mr Tautu says the new government should focus on the needs of the outer islands.

"The Democratic party is carried by the outer islands. I think there's an issue there that needs to be looked at. Maybe all the island councils should get together and ask government to give to all these MPs on the outer islands, a portfolio. Maybe the outer island needs to take a stab at controlling, or running, the Cook Islands. Robert Woonton did that and we saw the benefits on the outer islands."

Dr Woonton is one of two contenders for the position of prime minister but that won't be decided until parliament meets which it cannot do until all electoral petitions are heard.