7 Jan 2010

Cooks PM reassigns portfolios after December ructions

2:54 pm on 7 January 2010

The Cook Islands Prime Minister says he has complete confidence in his new look cabinet for 2010.

Newly appointed ministers were assigned their portfolios yesterday.

The Prime Minister Jim Marurai takes on the Public Service Commission, Police and the National Environment services.

His new deputy, Robert Wigmore, takes over Tourism, Foreign Affairs and Immigration, Agriculture, Marine Resources and Cultural Development.

William Heather takes on Infrastructure, Transport, Parliamentary services and the House of Ariki, and Apii Pio has Justice, Health and Internal Affairs.

Mr Marurai says Wilkie Rasmussen has taken over the Finance Ministry portfolio, and the first step is to review its activities over allegations of financial mismanagement.

"We have already formed a committee to look into the Ministry of Finance performance. At the same time the audit office is already doing their own. Once the reports come out we should know which direction to go."

Jim Marurai says cost cutting is a priority this year.

The changes came about after he dumped his deputy and former Finance Minister, Sir Terepai Maoate, before Christmas, resulting in several cabinet ministers resigning.