7 Jul 2007

New secretary for Cook's Manihiki Island

8:28 am on 7 July 2007

The Cook Islands MP for Manihiki Island says a dispute over the appointment of the island's secretary has been resolved.

Cabinet has approved Arthur Neale as Manihiki's island secretary over the former acting island secretary, Rangi Mitaera.

A group of six landowners, including Rangi Mitaera, had protested against the appointment by threatening to force the closure of the airport landing strip.

MP Apii Piho was joined in Manihiki by Deputy Prime Minister Sir Terepai Maoate and member of the opposition CIP party, Teina Bishop to sort out the issue.

Mr Piho says a number of misunderstandings were able to be cleared up.

"The acting island secretary felt that she should have been the successful applicant, we have had the PSC commissioner to clarify the process of selection. There was also accusations that I as a member had laid off CIP workers and then replaced them with democratic workers. And this is a false accusation, false claim so it has been a big misunderstanding."

Apii Piho says the protestors are now happy and the airport is no longer under threat.