23 Jun 2015

MP backs ban on Cook Islands Sunday flights

7:31 pm on 23 June 2015

A Government MP in the Cook Islands says he supports the referendum result on Aitutaki, and says there should be a ban on Sunday flights to the island group.

Aitutaki, Cook Islands

Aitutaki, Cook Islands Photo: Ewan Smith

The non-binding referendum was held in April, with 56 percent of voters wanting the ban, from a 61 percent voter turnout.

The Cook Islands Party MP for the Aitutaki constituency of Vaipae-Tautu, Moana Ioane, told Parliament his people should be heard.

The Prime Minister, Henry Puna, has not confirmed whether he will heed the poll, but said Parliament must ideally decide without divisions along party lines.

Mr Puna promised the referendum in the lead up to the by-election won by Mr Ioane.

The Cook Islands News says business owners are already experiencing a 15 percent decline in tourist arrivals and say scrapping the Sunday flights will nearly halve the weekly traffic.