4 Sep 2006

New leader of Cook Islands Party looks forward to challenge

1:27 pm on 4 September 2006

The opposition Cook Islands Party begins its election campaign for the first time in 40 years without Sir Geoffrey Henry after the veteran politician announced his resignation from politics last month.

The Manihiki candidate Henry Puna was elected overwhelmingly as the party's new leader with Tupou Faireka as his deputy.

Mr Puna, who is the third leader in the party's history, says following in Sir Geoffrey Henry's footsteps is a challenge for him and CIP.

"I had the privilege and pleasure of serving my apprenticeship as it were under such a great leader and a great statesman in Sir Geoffrey, and while we all miss him terribly, nevertheless he has presented us with new opportunities and new challenges, and we have no intention of failing him more importantly failing the people of this great country."