9 Mar 2011

Quitting party, Cooks MP expresses sadness

4:02 pm on 9 March 2011

The veteran politician Norman George says he feels some sadness in resigning from the ruling Cook Islands Party, despite being betrayed by its leadership.

The MP for Teenui/Mapumai says he will now be an independent, but will consider other options in the future including joining the opposition Democratic Party, forming his own party, or retiring at the next election.

Mr George rejects suggestions he was divisive in criticising the new Prime Minister Henry Puna, saying he was entitled to ask questions about his suitability and competence.

Mr George says he could not remain in the Cook Islands Party after Mr Puna omitted him from cabinet, despite his experience.

"If people do rotten things to me, I'm a man's man, I'll react like a man ought to do. A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do - get out. No regrets. But I feel sorry, there are some really good people in the Cook Islands Party."

Norman George says he will still have influence and will keep the government accountable.