21 Aug 2010

Cook Islands' Ngatangiia schism not connected with earlier party split

9:42 am on 21 August 2010

A rift in the Cook Islands' Democratic Party's Ngatangiia electorate that's prompted a run-off contest against the sitting candidate and former deputy Prime Minister, Sir Terepai Maoate, is said to be unrelated to an earlier split in the party.

Iaveta Short, Stephen Peyroux and Mann Short have put their names forward for the selection process, which'll culminate in a vote next Wednesday.

Sir Terepai, who was reconfirmed in May, will also stand in the run-off but is declining to comment on the matter.

Iaveta Short says the reconfirmation process was pushed through to prevent other candidates standing, something that's denied by the party secretary but both accept that the run-off has the potential to split the party.

Our correspondent Florence Syme Buchanan says what's happening in Ngatangiia's not related to the Democratic Party's split earlier this year.

"In fact I spoke to the president of the Democratic Party and he says that the view of the central committee is that they will leave all the sorting out of the candidate nominations to the people in the constituency to decide what they want to do."

Our Cook Island correspondent, Florence Syme Buchanan.