12 Oct 2007

Cook Islands NGO supports scrapping of vaka councils

11:39 am on 12 October 2007

The Group for Political Change in the Cook Islands is supporting the government's decision to scrap Rarotonga's three vaka councils.

The Minister of Internal Affairs, Ngamau Munokoa, says they decided to abolish the councils because they have not been fulfilling their responsibilities of maintaining community roadsides, road drains and streams.

Ms Munokoa says it would be cheaper to contract out the work and by-pass another level of bureaucracy.

The three mayors say they are angry and disappointed and claim the decision is an attack on democracy.

But Elizabeth Ponga from the Group for Political Change says the group are not active at a grass roots level and will not be missed.

"All they did was going around to clean up but there were no meetings being held where the community took part in coming up to decisions on whether permanent residency is going to be given to some people that are going to stay within the village or the vaka, or there's got to be liquor licensing or some other licenses to do with businesses. Nothing to that extent has ever been done within the local government."