8 Jul 2015

Cook Islands high chiefs barred from entering parliament

4:03 pm on 8 July 2015

The Cook Islands House of Ariki says the blocking of its annual meeting in the chambers of parliament was a shocking oversight.

Cook Islands Parliament

Cook Islands Parliament Photo: Supplied

Up to 24 high chiefs from various islands belong to the parliamentary body and provide feedback on policy issues such as permanent residence and preserving traditions.

But on the first day of their week long meeting yesterday the members were prevented from entering the debating chambers of parliament and were only able to begin after the Minister for the House of Ariki intervened.

The clerk of the House of Ariki, Tupuna Rakanui, will not reveal why the members were initally barred from the chambers but says it was most likely an administrative error.

"We are not sure whether the deputy clerk was ill-informed as to what transpired between the president of the House of Ariki and the Clerk of Parliament. What disappointed me was the whole proceeding was held back for I believe two hours and added to that is the fact that these are the parliament leaders of our nation, this is not the first time we've held a meeting in parliament, so I just can't understand."

Tupuna Rakanui says some events planned for later this week have been shifted out of the parliament chambers.