23 Apr 2015

Aitutaki voters to decide on Sunday flights

1:00 pm on 23 April 2015

Today is the day the people of Aitutaki in the Cook Islands will decide whether Sunday flights to and from their island will continue.

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Photo: supplied

Cook Islands News reports locals will be casting their votes in a controversial referendum promised by Prime Minister Henry Puna following the Vaipae-Tautu by-election.

The referendum is on the operation of all flights into and out of Aitutaki on all days and also on Sundays.

The Chief Electoral Officer Taggy Tangimetua says the questions were drafted by the government, not the Electoral Office.

She says about 1,000 voters from the three Aitutaki constituencies of Amuri-Ureia, Vaipae-Tautu and Arutanga-Reureu-Nikaupara will head to polling booths around the island to vote.

An electoral officer has been sent to Aitutaki to administer the referendum, and Ms Tangimetua hopes a preliminary result will be released by this evening.

The spat over Sunday flights has been long-running, with proponents saying they boost tourism while opposition is mainly based around the belief that Sunday is a sacred day when businesses should not operate.

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