31 Mar 2016

Cooks speaker stands by Opposition leader process

3:30 pm on 31 March 2016

The Cook Islands speaker of parliament is standing by her actions to interview MPs and oversee the process of a confidence declaration in a new leader of opposition.

The (Cooks) Cook Islands Parliament in session

The Cook Islands Parliament in session Photo: Phillipa Webb / Cook Islands News

Teina Bishop has the backing of the opposition majority with eight supporting signatures and three MPs abstaining.

Cook Islands News reports the election of an opposition leader is a process normally handled by the clerk of the house.

Speaker Niki Rattle has received criticism for her hands-on approach but she says everyone can learn from the unique situation.

She said it's the first time the leader of a minority party has been given majority support to lead such a coalition.

Ms Rattle said the interviews were done after the leadership declaration had been handed in.

She said she did not attempt to dissuade the MPs from adding their signatures and she didn't communicate with prime minister Henry Puna over the matter.