17 Aug 2010

Political reform to be a key issue in Cook Islands election

8:00 pm on 17 August 2010

The need for political reform and the failed Toa Fuel farm scheme will be key issues in the leadup to the Cook Islands elections.

The Prime Minister Jim Marurai announced last Friday that the country would go to the polls on November the 17th.

Our correspondent in Rarotonga, Florence Syme Buchanan, reports:

"The political reform group, Mou Piri, will be challenging parties to make a formal commitment before Cook Islanders go to the polls, that reform is a major policy issue, that the winning party will ensure it will happen. Another issue that political parties will be expected to make some commitment to is safeguarding the country from any future deals, such as the failed and very costly scheme to nationalise fuel supply [the Toa Tank Farm]. There's also the issue of proper robust codes of conduct, with real sanctions for all parliamentarians, head of ministries and government agencies. Other issues will also include the widely unpopular telecommunications monopoly held here by Telecom, the poor state of Rarotonga's infrastructure, and a number of environmental concerns."