A Cook Islands civil society group says there are issues with governance in the country.
Te Vai Ora Maori presented a petition to parliament calling on the government to re-look at aspects of the multi-million dollar Te Mato Vai water system on Rarotonga.
The group's Justine Flanagan said it was clear parliamentarians had not read the petition and when government MPs voted not to have it read in the chamber, it was dumped.
But Ms Flanagan said Standing Orders required petitions, once tabled, to go to a select committee for discussion.
The dumping of petitions has happened on other occasions too, she said
"We seem to have a core problem, a systemic problem, with our governance in that the people being able to participate is not its nature, unfortunately.
"When I look at other countries in the Commonwealth they actively want the people to participate in the process, where here, you feel a great deal of resistance."
Te Vai Ora Maori will be writing to the Speaker Nikki Rattle to ask her to ensure the petition goes to a select committee.
The petition seeks greater transparency about the reticulation system, including how the government will disinfect the water, if at all.
New Zealand taxpayers have paid tens of millions of dollars towards the scheme to date.