6 Feb 2004

Cooks Opposition Leader and a budding independent politician trade insults

5:07 pm on 6 February 2004

The Cook Islands Leader of the Opposition says businessman Brett Porter's drive for independent parliamentarians is just another form of political terrorism.

Sir Geoffrey Henry says Mr Porter's approach is no different to the government's, where loyalties change to suit personal agendas.

He says that if independents get into parliament they will hold the balance of power, because they can choose who to associate with in order to form a government.

"It's the sort of rubbish that's been going on since 1999, where you have people who shift their allegiances for a variety of reasons, some for their own personal benefit, without due regard for the need to maintain political stability and get on with the business of governing."

Mr Porter, who has thrown his hat into the Murienua constitutency on Rarotonga, says Sir Geoffrey's comments are emotive and opportunistic.

It's blind allegiance that's gotten us where we are today. I mean the use of the word terrorism's terrible, he should know better than that. More to the point people should be terrified more of what we've had over the last 30 years.

Mr Porter says the real issue is political reform and that fact that politicians have failed to deliver on their promises in the past.

He says there is a faction of strong young independents who are going to be the catalyst for political change.

If elected, he says the group plans to reduce the number of MPs from 25 to 17 and to bring about fairer representation for Rarotonga.