16 Nov 2002

New minister joins Cook Islands cabinet

8:18 am on 16 November 2002

The Cook Islands Coalition government has a new Cabinet Minister.

He's Robert Wigmore, the former under-secretary to Prime Minister Dr Robert Woonton.

Mr Wigmore takes on the portfolio of agriculture, with environmental and justice to be confirmed.

The latest coalition government was formed last weekend.

The Democratic Party, which had been in Opposition, had been offered a Cabinet seat and an undersecretary position, but Dr Terepai Maoate had insisted on two Cabinet posts, and did not take up the offer.

The Prime Minister says the well being of the country is far more important than waiting for people to make up their minds.

Mr Wigmore has long spoken in favour of political reforms and has said twenty five politicians is too many for the country.

In the last coalition government led by Dr Maoate, Mr Wigmore opposed increasing the number of Cabinet seats to seven, thereby ensuring it was defeated.