5 Nov 2012

Cook Islands public service chief dismisses claim of threats from political leaders

7:24 pm on 5 November 2012

The Cook Islands Public service commissioner, Russell Thomas, has dismissed claims by opposition leader Wilkie Rasmussen that public servants had been threatened with losing their jobs if they speak out against the government.

Mr Rasmussen claims the prime minister and several of his ministers had threatened senior public servants they would be sacked if they criticised the administration or painted the prime minister in a bad light in the media.

The Prime Minister Henry Puna has said he had no knowledge of any threats against workers and denied applying undue influence.

He said Mr Rasmussen had clearly lost the plot.

Mr Thomas says the Public Service Commission does the hiring and firing of employees, not the minister whose portfolio the ministry is under.

He says he has not had any complaints of undue influence being applied since the start of his tenure in March.