Party member Short pulled no punches in an eight-page PowerPoint presentation which reminded Demo Party members of the key functions of an opposition party and identified key priorities for a party when in opposition.
He also listed key recommendations for the Democratic Party in the event it was elected to government.
These included stopping all travel by ministers and government officials for six months and promising the people of the Cook Islands that the government would carry out a comprehensive review of all ministries, also providing a report on the government’s new priorities
He recommended a close look at environmental and land issues, policing, infrastructure, health and education.
Short said a Demo government should set up commissions of inquiry on all matters that had been “swept under the carpet” by the current government, including purse seine fishing and the long-running Te Mato Vai water mains project.
Illegal payments by government to landowners on Manihki and the raid on pensioners’ bank accounts by MFEM should also be looked into, Short added. Then there was the matter of the lump sum payment of $200,000 to Pacific Schooners Ltd, operators of the ill-fated vessel Tiare Taporo, and government’s broken promises regarding replacing schools that had been destroyed by fire.
Also on Short’s list of matters requiring further investigation was a motor accident ??? years ago, involving prime minister Henry Puna. The Demo Party has previously called for legal action over the St Joseph Rd smash in which a motorcyclist was knocked off his machine and injured.
Short, whose father Iaveta Short is a former president of the Democratic Party, said it was vital for the party to get its accounts in order.
“We need to be devising ways to generate money in preparation for the campaigning and promotion of our candidates for the general elections.
“We need to communicate with the outer islands to give them information on how badly the Cook Islands Party has been performing so their supporters and constituents are informed of the cancer that the CIPs are causing.
“We need to form working committees tasked with the responsibilities of answering or challenging newsletter articles on the poor performance of government and keeping statistics on the failures of government, so this can be used during campaign time.”
Short told CI News that at the start of his presentation, he had asked all those who were happy with the Demo Party’s performance to show their hands.
“No-one put their hands up.
“The whole gist of what I was saying is that the Democratic Party urgently needs to do a self-assessment.”
Short said talented people within the Democratic Party needed to be earmarked for key positions in the event that the party won an election.
“We should be appointing our key supporters to board directorship positions on Te Aonga Uira, the Airport and Ports Authorities, BTIB, CIIC and the Tourism Board. But we always fail in this area because we are not proactive in making sure this happens.
“When we become government we forget our supporters.
“We should get the CVs of (suitable) people now in preparation for the elections so you will know that they will work extra hard to ensure we win government.”