25 May 2004

Cook Islands parliament opens amid criticism over lack of activity

4:10 pm on 25 May 2004

The Cook Islands parliament is sitting for the first time this year with concerns being expressed about how rarely it has convened over the last five years.

And, there are questions over the leadership of the prime minister, Dr Robert Woonton.

Our correspondent, Florence Syme Buchanan, reports.

"There's been speculation that the government has been reluctant to reconvene parliament in the event that a motion of no-confidence is tabled. However, parliamentary staff say they're not expecting that to happen during this current sitting of parliament. Chief adviser to the prime minister, MP Norman George, says MPs can expect very little rest as there will be double sittings of parliament over the next three weeks. Parliament is expected to deal with a minimum of ten outstanding bills with at least two bills dating back to 2002. Cook Islands politicians have come under widespread public criticism for failing to sit for more than 118 days over the past five years."