19 Jun 2008

Cooks deputy PM says chiefs were misled to make proclamation

6:52 pm on 19 June 2008

The Cook Islands deputy prime minister says he told members of the House of Ariki that they were misled by Sydney-based businessman Bruce Mita, and their actions were unconstitutional.

Last week, several traditional chiefs, or ui ariki, claimed they were dismissing the Queen's representative and government, and assuming leadership and ownership of the country.

Sir Terepai Maoate, met them today and says the aim was to get the House of Ariki back to its normal work.

He says he shared the government's concerns with them.

"Government was just concerned that this so-called proclamation, or protest has given the impression to the international arena that this is something serious, probably something similar to what happened in Fiji. Which is totally different, it's nothing like that at all."

Sir Terepai Maoate says the ui ariki will meet tomorrow morning and then report back to him.