19 Sep 2019

Balance of power uncertain in Cook Islands parliament

5:27 am on 19 September 2019

The balance of political power remains uncertain in the Cook Islands as the country waits for the courts to decide an appeal over the Atiu seat.

Cook Islands Parliament.

Cook Islands Parliament. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The situation stems from the sudden resignation earlier this year when the Cooks' youngest MP, Te-Hani Brown, resigned so she could stand in a by-election as an independent to join her mother who is a cabinet minister and support the government.

The Clerk of the House Tangata Vainerere said they were waiting on the courts to rule on the appeal and advise the Crown Law office over the necessity of a by-election and its timing.

He said things were a little bit tight at the moment.

"With the government 12 seats and then the opposition with 11 and then one 'empty' seat. The seat is not 'vacant' because the resignation, even accepted by the Queen's Representative, the seat has not been declared yet by parliament. Because it will be dependent upon the outcomes of the appeal."

Mr Vainerere says the are also remodelling the chamber to get more space and make parliament sittings more efficient.

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