3 May 2012

Cooks MP claims Atiu mayor got position illegally

7:28 pm on 3 May 2012

Cook Islands independent MP, Norman George, says the government should urgently call a by-election for mayor of Atiu.

He accuses the incumbent Taoro Strickland-Brown of obtaining the mayoralty illegally.

In November Mr Strickland-Brown resigned as mayor ahead of plans to move to Auckland to take up a job as the medical referral liaison agent.

But Mr George, who represents Atiu, says Mr Strickland-Brown later changed his mind about the job and then called the five Atiu Island councillors together to arrange for his reappointment as mayor.

He says the voting was tied once Mr Strickland-Brown had voted and then as chair he exercised a casting vote.

Mr George called it outrageous, unlawful and shameful behaviour which completely ignored the rule of law.

He says as far as he's concerned the mayor's office is vacant and the government should call a by-election.