19 Jan 2004

Cook Islands party calls for review of act which allows double dipping

5:12 pm on 19 January 2004

There's been a call for a review of an act in the Cook Islands which allows MPs to be paid consultants to government.

The secretary-general of the opposition Cook Islands party, Temu Okotai, says he would like to see the attorney general appeal against a ruling which cleared MP, Norman George, of double dipping.

He says it's splitting hairs that the court ruled it was okay for Mr George to be paid as a government consultant because that didn't make him a crown employee.

Mr Okotai says he's concerned that other MPs will now exploit the loophole.

"The Cook Islands party reaction would be the same as many in the community who would be feeling very apprehensive, in that the judgements will give comfort to those who want to exploit this loophole in the act with regard to double dipping for MPs."

Mr Okotai says it's not the end of the matter because the CIP has laid an official complaint with the audit office that people working in Mr George's office are being paid by the government.

He says as an ordinary MP, Mr George is not entitled to a support budget.