21 Apr 2004

Cook Islands government says status quo to remain in outer islands

4:03 pm on 21 April 2004

The Cook Islands government says it will continue to recognise the mayors and councillors of the outer islands when their terms run out at the end of the month.

By law, local body elections must be held during this April but the government postponed them until after the general elections later this year.

Outer island mayors had protested that this was illegal and would leave them in limbo, unable to make decisions or policy or allocate the budget.

But, MP Norman George, says business will continue as usual and the legality of the situation will be rectified when parliament next sits.

"There is in fact an amendment bill that's already drafted. Parliament is planning to resume next month. Immediately that amendment will be put through to validly postpone the local government elections."

Mr George says the mayors and councillors will continue to be paid and can go about their business as the status quo will remain.