15 Jul 2005

Cook Islands Party blames coalition partner for forcing public service U-turn

3:19 pm on 15 July 2005

The vice-president of the ruling Cook Islands Party says its junior coalition partner is forcing it to go back on an apparent election pledge to scrap ministerial undersecretaries.

The party promised to do away with undersecretary positions, in a bid to cut down the number of people in the public service and, in doing so, save money.

Nick Henry says the party remains committed to streamlining the public service and he describes the move to retain the undersecretaries as an obvious step backwards.

"We find ourselves in the rather difficult situation at the moment with some coalition partners, and one of the compromises that we had to make with our partners, was that the undersecretary positions remained."

The former Democratic Party government in the Cook Islands introduced the positions of undersecretaries to government ministers.

Nick Henry says when his party came into government and tried to push the change, their coalition partner, the Tumu Enua, was quite averse to it.