18 Sep 2014

Two more Cooks petitions dismissed

2:55 pm on 18 September 2014

The Cook Islands Party has had two more petitions against it dismissed by the High Court, making it increasingly unlikely it will lose power to the Democratic Party.

Of the nine petitions lodged against July's election results, two were withdrawn by petitioners before hearing, five have been dismissed and two are pending.

Mary Baines reports.

The incumbent member of parliament Moana Ioane has retained his Aitutaki seat after a petition alleging irregularities and bribery was dismissed. But Chief Justice Thomas Weston upheld one count of bribery, of which more details will be released in a written decision soon. Justice Hugh Williams has dismissed a petition against the MP of Teenui Mapumai, Vainetutai Rose Toki-Brown. Allegations Mrs Brown was involved in bribery leading up to the election, by giving voters a motorcycle, petrol, t-shirts and the free use of a forklift and carpenters were dismissed. The Cook Islands Party holds 13 seats in the 24-seat parliament, and the Democrats have said if just two or three petitions are upheld, its leadership could be threatened. Decisions on the two remaining petitions are expected to be delivered next week.

Cook Islands Democratic Party Logo

Cook Islands Democratic Party Logo Photo: Cook Islands Democratic Party