22 Nov 2010

Cook Islands Party questions understanding of referendum on number of MPs

5:54 am on 22 November 2010

The leader of the Cook Islands Party, which appears to have secured victory in the general election, is criticising a referendum on the number of seats in parliament.

The Cook Islands Party has taken 15 seats, the ruling Democratic Party has eight, and one seat is tied, with advance votes still to be counted.

The Electoral Office hopes the final result of the election and of a referendum held on polling day, will be known later this week once ballot boxes arrive from the northern group.

Cook Islands Party leader, Henry Puna, says there could be merit in reducing the number of seats from the current 24 as proposed in the referendum.

But he says he does not believe the referendum has been handled carefully and properly.

"Because the discussions have only been taking place in Rarotonga and yet the changes proposed out of those discussion would effect people outside of Rarotonga. And I don't think that's the way to go about some important exercises like that. We need to engage people and then they can make up their minds on an informed basis instead of this rushed referendum that we've had."