12 Oct 2007

Cook Island mayors support axing of Vaka councils

11:43 am on 12 October 2007

In the Cook Islands, Raratonga's three mayors have reacted angrily to the news that the Vaka councils - the island's only form of local government - are to be abolished.

The Minister of Internal Affairs says the decision to scrap the councils was made because the vaka councils have not fulfilled their duties.

The councils are responsible for the upkeep of community roadsides, road drainages and streams.

Minister Ngamau Munokoa admits that in order to do the work, the vaka councils need significantly more resources which the government is unwilling to provide.

Instead the Minister says savings could be made by abolishing the councils and contracting the work out.

The Mayor of Takitumu, Teariki Matenga, says the decision has come as a shock.

"That's what you call a bombshell I suppose. We have been expecting it for some time but it's just the way it was done. It's pretty much a guillotine decision. I mean there's a lot of anger in it right now maybe over the next couple of days things will mellow down. We'll probably sit down and see if there is further action to be taken."