That’s according to coalition spokesperson George Turia, who says the One Cook Islands/Demo team on Aitutaki has worked “quietly and confidently” to support candidate Pumati Israela and has proven it is possible to politically unite as one to support a winning candidate.
Turia said last week’s opening rally at Are Nikau had proven this without any fanfare and the hype of promises to fix roads and install water tanks.
“That type of campaigning has gone. We now see the emergence of a new spirit of togetherness between OCI and the Demos, based on trust and goodwill.”
“It is important to remind government that the people of Aitutaki are not silly and they are not blind to the kind of underhand dirty campaign tactics I believe are being applied by them (the government)”.
He said the opposition parties’ spirit of togetherness confirmed people had had enough of the verbal rhetoric and promises of “lollies” from government and that they were no longer interested in party politics.
“The people would rather get behind the person who is likely to support their interests and those of their constituency.”
Turia said the opposition coalition was staying focused and their respect and humility for each other kept them together as a team – something he said the government could learn from.
He said some internal party matters required attention and these would addressed after the by-election on October 13.
“It is understandable that any coalition arrangement is met with scepticism, but we do encourage those who are uncomfortable with these arrangements to call at the office and talk to us so that you can be better informed.”
Earlier, in response to questions from CI News, Turia said the by-election was the coalition opposition’s main priority and members would not be distracted by “disenfranchised politicians”.
“We are very much on track to achieving our objective to win the seat.”
Turia said he wasn’t surprised the CIP government was “churning out the negativity”, because they had realised they could not break the opposition’s new spirit of togetherness.
Asked why new parliamentary opposition leader Rose Brown was keeping such a low profile, Turia said Brown was “taking things slowly”.
“My job is to protect here. When we are ready, we will introduce her appropriately.
“Right now, our priority is to secure Are Nikau and if we do, it will change the political landscape as it will mean a hung Parliament and we (will) have RAPPA and Vaipae Tautu to focus on.
“So where is this all leading, I leave to you to consider.
“The question is “who’s panicking now?”