20 Jan 2010

Cooks elaborate reform options ahead of referendum

12:17 pm on 20 January 2010

Cabinet ministers in the Cook Islands are being kept informed on political reform plans ahead of a promised referendum on the issue.

The chair of the economic development taskforce says there's wide support for its proposal to update the constitution.

Tata Crocombe says the constitution doesn't fully serve today's needs so changes are needed to enable greater political stability.

He says there is recommendation to have the 24 members of parliament made up of half national MPs and the other half made up of constituency MPs .

And says another key change would be the way the Prime Minister gets elected.

"The main idea is that there should be a direct election of the Prime Minister by the 10,000 eligible voters of the Cook Islands, rather than by the parliamentarians and various coalitions that they form and that would give the people's mandate to whoever the Prime Minister was to implement an agenda of change and social and economic development."

If the proposal is passed by two thirds of parliament at its next sitting, he says, there won't be a need for any referendum.