10 Apr 2017

Resigned Cooks Minister expected to contest by-election

5:00 pm on 10 April 2017

The Cook Islands Internal Affairs and Sports Minister, Albert Nicholas, has resigned to end the controversy over his defection from the opposition.

Cook Islands Minister of Internal Affairs Albert Nicholas

Cook Islands Minister of Internal Affairs Albert Nicholas Photo: RNZI/Flo Syme-Buchanan

His resignation was announced by the Prime Minister Henry Puna.

The Cook Islands News reported that a by-election is expected in the Rappa seat within seven weeks and that it was understood Mr Nicholas would stand again, but this time under the banner of the ruling Cook Islands Party.

He won his seat as a Democrat and when he joined the government the Democrats brought legal action asserting a contravention of parliament's rules to stop party hopping.

The High Court rejected the opposition's bid, but it clarified some of the matters around the party hopping legislation, and this appeared to make Mr Nicholas's current position untenable.

Mr Puna had welcomed the move and pointed out that a former Cook Islands Party MP, Rose Brown, who was now the parliamentary leader of the opposition, faced the same situation.

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