Opposition MPs fired a number of questions at the prime minister, who tackled them with ease before losing his cool for a moment, when probed by James Beer about the government’s United Nations dream and the dual citizenship issue.
Beer took the floor first during the question and answer session and also raised concerns about the inoperable Pacific Schooners Ltd vessel Tiare Taporo which has remained docked at Avatiu since the evacuation of the harbour on Friday, due to concerns about heavy sea swells.
He asked Puna, who is also the transport minister, to advise the House whether he had received any notice or concern raised by the ministry’s secretary in relation to the Tiare Taporo not being able to port and exit the harbour as ordered by the harbour master on Friday last week.
“No, I haven’t heard anything. But in any event, there will be no need to have this matter referred to the minister. The Ports Authority has all the power it needs to deal with that matter,” Puna replied.
In a supplementary question, Beer asked Puna whether he was concerned enough to ask the secretary the reason behind Tiare Taporo’s inability to vacate the harbour due to the impending bad weather.
Puna’s reply was a bit more sarcastic this time.
“I don’t like where this question is heading. The member is obviously introducing an element of speculation into his question,” he said.
“The truth is I will respond to a situation or issue or concern if it was put to me. But as I answered earlier, I have not been made aware of the situation.”
Meanwhile Puna confirmed there was “no official discussion with anyone” regarding dual citizenship which could allow Cook Islands a seat at the UN while retaining the New Zealand citizenship.