16 Dec 2004

New Cook Islands speaker dismisses criticism over his appointment

2:20 pm on 16 December 2004

The new speaker of parliament in the Cook Islands, Norman George, has dismissed criticism over his appointment from the opposition leader.

The Democratic Party leader, Dr Terepai Maoate, has labelled the election of Mr George to speaker as a 'political appointment' and he believes that the former MP will target the opposition.

Dr Maoate says many people, including in Mr George's former seat of Atiu, no longer believe he has the integrity to undertake this very important position.

But Mr George says he has no doubts about his integrity, humility and professionalism to perform the role of speaker.

"I have a full legal background. I have the respect of the judges in the court of appeal, and the judges in the high court and the justices of the peace in the high court. To me, I've got better credentials than any other speaker that's been in the house of parliament. And I do not want people like Dr Maoate to be my judge because straight away he's biased, bigoted and anti-Norman George and so I take absolutely no notice of what he has to say."

Norman George