19 Mar 2003

Cook Islands petition for political reform to be presented shortly

4:05 pm on 19 March 2003

A petition for political reform in the Cook Islands is to be presented to parliament shortly after organisers do a final check on the numbers.

Elizabeth Ponga of the Group for Political Change says residents in the outer islands were supportive as were people on Rarotonga although some copies of the petition went missing and pages from others were torn out.

Ms Ponga says they've collected more than 2,000 signatures in four weeks.

"We're very happy with that figure of two thousand because you have got to remember that on Rarotonga alone there is only a population of nine thousand as at the last count, last week....I think that is very good, because about half of that (the Rarotonga population) is children, so two thousand is a lot of people"

The petition calls for, among other things, cutting the numbers of MPs, a reduction in the term of parliament, the abolition of the overseas seat and a cut-back in ministerial support funds.