23 Feb 2010

Cooks Democratic Party wants parliament to discuss Aitutaki destruction

1:22 pm on 23 February 2010

The leader of the Cook Islands Democratic Party says Parliament should be recalled immediately so it can endorse plans for the reconstruction of cyclone battered Aitutaki.

Sir Terepai Maoate says he estimates that the island needs more than ten million US dollars in aid support after Cyclone Pat damaged most of the houses on the island.

Sir Terepai says a lot of work needed to ensure the island's contribution to the economy through tourism is maintained and that the young people of Aitutaki are encouraged to stay there.

He says the country cannot afford a repeat of the delays that followed Cyclone Martin's destruction of Manihiki in 1997.

"Inspite of the fact that they have an industry with the pearl farming and what have you, lots and lots of people left the island of Manihiki because of delays and for this one, the delay is really the Government not wanting to call Parliament to appropriate adequate funds to deal with the situation."

But Prime Minister Jim Marurai says Sir Terepai is playing politics.

He says Cabinet has today confirmed that Parliament will not sit before September, but he believes that the Government has enough funding available, including access to NZAID funds.

Sir Terepai Maoate says there is certain to be a vote of no confidence when Parliament sits.