11 Feb 2016

Cooks PM won't suspend his deputy

1:52 pm on 11 February 2016

The Cook Islands prime minister Henry Puna says he will not suspend his deputy Teariki Heather, who is being investigated by the Financial Intelligence Unit.

The Opposition has calling for Mr Heather to be stood down and said allegations against him around the purchase of a piece of bobcat equipment are very serious.

But it said Mr Puna is unlikely to suspend one of his ministers, as he needed the numbers in his party.

Cook Islands Prime Minister Henry Puna

Cook Islands Prime Minister Henry Puna Photo: Phillipa Webb / Cook Islands News

Mr Puna said removing Mr Heather from office was not warranted.

He said Mr Heather's case was not comparable to other ministers' corruption cases, as those ministers voluntarily resigned or stood down.

Mr Puna said the Democratic Party was clutching at political straws to manufacture instability in the government.