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OCI, Demos shrug off CIP allegations

Tuesday October 07, 2014 Written by Published in Politics

Possible coalition partners, One Cook Islands and the Democratic Party, have shrugged off Prime Minister Henry Puna’s allegations that they are destabilising the Cook Islands Party-led government.

Following a whirlwind weekend rife with rumour, both parties took the time on Monday to attempt to set the record straight on what has been a tumultuous lead-up into tomorrow’s sitting of Parliament.
Puna, in response to rumours that his CIP government was on shaky ground and facing a potential desertion of four of its members, issued a statement saying his party was unified and successfully fending off the “destabilising” efforts of OCI and the Demos.
Part of those rumours included an alleged effort on Friday by a collection of OCI, Demo, and CIP MP’s travelling to Government House in Titikaveka to visit the Head of State and establish their intent to topple the Puna-led government.
Yesterday, Official Secretary Anthony Brown with the Head of State confirmed that no meetings have been requested recently with Queen’s Representative Tom Marsters.
“There are no, and there have never been official appointments with my office,” he said.
Marsters is currently in Mauke to open the Manea Games, and arrives back in Raroronga on Wednesday, Brown confirmed.
Acting Leader of the Opposition William Heather – MP for Ruaau – said any questions on attempts to attract CIP MP’s into a potential coalition should be forwarded to One Cook Islands Leader Teina Bishop.
“He’s the one who started this,” said Heather, who also refuted claims the Demo’s were celebrating on Friday after an alleged power grab.
“We are just supporting him.”
Aitutaki MP and OCI chief Bishop described Puna’s allegations of ‘destabilising’ the CIP as “absolute nonsense.”
“In our movement, we recognise the right of a Member of Parliament that is installed in the nation’s Constitution, not the Cook Islands Party’s constitution,” he said.
“If a Member of Parliament, with the wishes of their constituency, wants to come to the One Cook Islands Movement, they have every right to under the Constitution, provided they satisfy the provisions of the Electoral Act,” said Bishop.
With regards to an anticipated vote this week on a budget bill, Bishop said an MP voting against their Party on appropriation matters would not trigger anti-party hopping legislation, he added.
“The budget doesn’t belong to the party, it belongs to the nation,” he said. “People need to study their constitution”.
Bishop also scoffed at Puna’s allegations of threats being made last week to CIP staff that they would soon be out of work.
“There’s no way that I would support any government that would get rid of Cook Islanders at work,” said Bishop. “We don’t deal with politics, we deal with humans and policies.”
“We are a political movement that looks after the interest of all Cook Islanders.” 

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