7 Dec 2011

Cook Islands community group battle on hold for election negotiations

7:33 am on 7 December 2011

The opposing sides in a High Court battle for control over a New Zealand Cook Islands community group have agreed to put proceedings on hold.

The court action in Auckland by a rival group to remove the Pukapuka Community of New Zealand's president Nuku Rapana has been suspended for three days to try to arrange urgent elections.

Mr Rapana is contesting the action.

The rival group's lawyer, Ray Parmenter, told the court the society's properties and funding are in danger from Mr Rapana's financial mismanagement, and a quick election is the only hope.

Mr Rapana's lawyer, Simativa Perese, says an election could be organised very quickly.

"It's a matter of making the right phone calls to people around the country who will need to travel to Auckland for the next meeting, whether it's just an election only or a full AGM but certainly hopeful before the Christmas break."

But the rival president, Tareni Lulia says who started the court action, isn't convinced an election held now will help.

Maybe in the beginning of the year, I don't know about this time, time is not on our side because IRD is chasing us, so time is a concern at this stage, the main thing is try and get our community on side.

Tareni Lulia.