2 Jul 2010

Cook Islands group forms to encourage women to go into politics

7:34 am on 2 July 2010

A Cook Islands business woman who's campaigned for political reform is part of a new group encouraging women to enter politics.

Teina McKenzie says they want to see more balanced gender representation in Parliament - currently there are three women MPs in the 24 member Parliament.

Elections are due this year but the Prime Minister is yet to announce a date for the poll.

Florence Syme Buchanan reports from Rarotonga:

"Teina McKenzie says they have the backing of the Cook Islands Business and Professional Womens Association on the issue of empowering women. A committee will be formed that will work on all aspects of advancing women into politics and parliament. Ms McKenzie says they want to offer assistance and support to any woman thinking of standing as a candidate. She says women are more likely to fight for the changes needed and will go out on a limb to protect and preserve their families, their culture and their country. It's likely that Ms McKenzie's initiative will gain increasing support as there's a groundswell here in the Cook Islands for political change."