24 Jun 2016

Cooks Opposition says lock-out was unconstitutional

8:14 am on 24 June 2016

This week's lockdown of the Cook Islands parliament has been described as a breach of the country's Constitution by Opposition MP Tamaiva Tuavera.

The Opposition were unable to enter parliament after the Clerk of the House John Tangi ordered the building to be secured and requested police assistance.

It was the first time an Opposition had been denied entry and came after it used what it thought was a procedural error to earlier stage a vote of no confidence which has since been ruled invalid.

Ngatangiia Rarotonga MP, Tamaiva Tuavera.

Opposition MP Tamaiva Tuavera Photo: RNZI / Koro Vaka'uta

Mr Tuavera said the law is clear that it's strangers that aren't permitted in parliament.

He said opposition MPs are not strangers and it was a violation of the Constitution for them to be denied entry into parliament.

Meanwhile the neutrality of the Clerk of Parliament is being challenged by the Opposition following his actions which included ordering that Monday's sitting not be recorded or broadcast.

John Tangi publicly criticised the Opposition as being evil, disgraceful and arrogant.

He said he wanted no part in their actions which he described as the work of devil.

The clerk of the Cook Islands parliament, John Tangi

The clerk of the Cook Islands parliament, John Tangi Photo: Phillipa Webb / Cook Islands News

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