28 Nov 2018

Cooks opposition wants by-election after MP's death

3:33 pm on 28 November 2018

Terepai Maoate Junior said leaving the constituency in limbo was unfair to the people of Ivirua, especially if Parliament sits and they don't have representation.

The recent death of Democratic Party MP Tony Armstrong left the village in Mangaia without a sitting MP.

Democratic Leader, Terepai Maoate Junior

Democratic Leader, Terepai Maoate Junior Photo: RNZ Pacific / Flo Syme Buchanan

Mr Armstrong was a man of vision and incredible strength and he would have wanted to see things moving for Ivirua, rather coming to a standstill, Mr Maoate said.

He won the Ivirua seat over Cook Islands Party candidate Marion Harry in June's general elections.

The island of Mangaia has traditionally been a Democratic Party stronghold and Mr Maoate, also a Democratic MP, does not envisage any change to this trend.

He says the Democratic Party is ready to go to a by-election in Avatiu-Ruatonga-Palmerston and says their candidate, Dr Teina Rongo, has a good chance of being elected there after being beaten by the Mr Nicholas by only 46 votes at the general election in June this year.

Meanwhile the Democratic MP for Ivirua on Mangia passed away two weeks ago and Mr Maoate is also questioning the delay in naming a date for a by-election there too.

"Unfortunately we lost a good man, Tony Armstrong, but we are asking government, we're trying to find out why there is, why there's no announcement of a by-election and what is the delay."

The Democratic Party said the Speaker, Niki Rattle, was taking her time and her cues from prime minister Henry Puna.

The Speaker must declare the Ivirua seat vacant before the Chief Electoral officer can set the by-election date.

The late Tony Armstrong

The late Tony Armstrong Photo: RNZ Pacific / Flo Syme Buchanan

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