17 Apr 2003

Cook Islands Parliament drops "Overseas Seat"

10:24 am on 17 April 2003

The Cook Islands Parliament has voted overwhelmingly to drop the country's "Overseas Seat".

An amendment to the constitution was passed by 24 of the 25 MPs allowing the axing of the Overseas Seat and its MP, Dr Joe Williams who was briefly prime minister in 1999.

Elizabeth Ponga, of the Group for Political Change, says the seat has been a waste of money and dropping it is part of the much-needed political reform in the Cook Islands.

"When it comes to the hard facts of life, those people who live in New Zealand and other places do not contribute towards paying for the seat because they pay taxes in New Zealand or in the places where they live, not pay taxes to the Cook Islands and the development of our country - not at all."