17 Jul 2007

Cooks opposition critical of budget process

3:37 pm on 17 July 2007

The way the Cook Islands government pushed through its budget for the current year at the end of last month has been called arrogant and dictatorial.

Just two half days was given over to debate the budget despite parliamentary standing orders requiring that ten days be allocated for the document.

The budget needed to be passed by July 1st and acting prime minister Wilkie Rasmussen says his understanding was it came to parliament too late.

Mr Rasmussen says it is common practice in his experience to guillotine the budget, meaning essentially it is rushed through without discussion.

The opposition Cook Islands Party's spokesperson on good governance, Nandi Glassie, says they got to debate spending in just one ministry, which he says is disgraceful.

"Because they have got the majority in the House they have decided that no they will guillotine it so that every debate is every debate has been cut off. I found that disgraceful, it's undemocratic."

Nandi Glassie