6 Nov 2002

Cook Islands lobby group meets PM over political reform

11:54 am on 6 November 2002

A Cook Islands lobby group pushing for widespread political reform says the prime minister, Dr Robert Woonton, is supportive of some of its aims.

Tua Pitman, the chairman of the Political Reform Conference committee, says Dr Woonton told them that he agreed there was a need to reduce the number of MPs and to shorten the term of parliament.

Mr Pitman says Dr Woonton made it clear these were his personal opinions but he supported the process of reform and has accepted an invitation to address their upcoming conference.

"We've taken the first step, the next stepis to see if any of the recommendations will actually be carried through. As the leader of the Cook Islands government the ball will be back in his plate. He will need to confide with his fellow cabinet and fellow government members to see where we move from here."

Mr Pitman says he's aware that the political system cannot be changed overnight or even within a year but the discussion with Dr Woonton is a step in the right direction.

He says they will now be asking the outer island mayors and community committees what their thoughts are on the need for political reform.