8 Feb 2011

Cook Islands opposition disputes parliamentary funding blowout

8:02 pm on 8 February 2011

The deputy leader of the opposition Democratic Party in the Cook Islands, Wilkie Rasmussen, says payouts to MPs and ministers who've lost their seats would have been budgeted for last year.

He says he's amazed at government claims Parliamentary Services does not have enough funds because a record 140 thousand US dollars is due to those who weren't re-elected.

The government, which is bringing back a clothing allowance for MPs and wants to increase their travel money, has earmarked parliament for extra funding from its forthcoming supplementary budget.

Mr Rasmussen says a funding shortfall shouldn't be blamed on payouts.

"I think it's more than that. I think as Minister for Parliamentary Services, the Prime Minister is caving in to demands from his new MPs for the allowance and of course for the travel that they seem to be so keen on bringing back."

Democratic Party deputy leader Wilkie Rasmussen