20 May 2008

Hopes in Cook Islands that local politicians can resolve differences on Manihiki

1:44 pm on 20 May 2008

Manihiki's two leading politicians are to travel to the island tomorrow to meet with locals.

Two people on the island have been arrested after a flight had to be sent back to Rarotonga, when the landowners, protesting a land court hearing, planted a small coconut tree on the atoll's airstrip.

Henry Puna, the leader of the Cook Islands party, will be going to the island with the local MP, Apii Piho, travelling on the first plane to fly there since the incident.

He says things have largely returned to normal, but hopefully the politicians will be able to help move things along.

"At the moment, the priority is to sit down with the parties on the island and get everybody together and resolve our differences on the island, talk about the issues, and then at a later point in time bring the minister on board."

Henry Puna says sending the police patrol boat, Te Kukupa, was an overreaction.