Aitutaki MP Teina Bishop, the leader of the One Cook Islands Party, says calls by the prime minister for a referendum on Sunday flights to the tourist island are silly.
Henry Puna says there has been ongoing tension over the controversial flights since their introduction six years ago.
His call for a referendum came amid campaigning for a pivotal by-election in the island's Vaepae consituency.
Mr Bishop is campaign manager for the Democratic Party's Kete Ioane in the poll, and if he is successful Mr Puna's Cook Islands Party could lose power.
Mr Bishop says such a referendum could not be justified.
"A referendum has to be decided by the whole country and to put Sunday flights into a referendum where the whole country decides is silly."
Aitutaki MP, Tenia Bishop.