The Prime Minister has reassigned to the new minister all his former portfolios of Internal Affairs, Youth and Sports, Te Punanga Nui and the Office of the Ombudsman and this brings to a formal conclusion the recent by-election in RAPPA.
“More importantly”, said prime minister Puna, “it allows the newly re-elected member for RAPPA the opportunity to resume his duties as a minister ahead of the resumption of Parliament in just over two weeks’ time.
“There is much work to be done by the new minister, including some major announcements in the Budget to be made by him as Minister of Internal Affairs, initiatives for which he himself was personally responsible for their introduction and promotion, with the support of government.”
In welcoming Nicholas back into Cabinet, the prime minister took the opportunity to warmly thank the people of RAPPA, from Ruatonga to Avatiu, Panama to Palmerston, and not forgetting Atupa, for their overwhelming support for their “people’s choice”, Albert Nicholas, elected to again be their servant in government and in parliament.
“The people have left no doubt that Albert has done the right thing by them through his work programmes in the constituency, and through his joining the Cook Islands Party Government in order to serve his people better.
“By their support,” continued the Prime Minister, “the people of RAPPA have shown their endorsement of Albert’s quiet-but-steady approach to his duties as an MP, a support which will no doubt inspire and encourage him to do more and better for all his people.
“Congratulations also to Albert and his close team of supporters who have been steady and respectful throughout the by-election campaign.
“You have been active but in a low-key manner throughout the campaign, and said very little, preferring instead to let your work and actions speak for you and your people.
“Your honesty and desire to do the right thing following the court hearing against you has brought courage and a desire to seek a fresh and proper mandate from your people. A move they obviously also agreed with.
“All of this was borne out of your strong desire to be in a position where you can do more and better for your people, and not for yourselves.
“It is sad that the Democratic Party and Leadership have shown themselves to be bad losers, not even having the grace and decency to publicly congratulate Albert on his win. Instead they have been busy trying to undermine Albert’s resounding victory by characterising it as anything but a deserved and clear expression of confidence and support by the people that matter, the constituents of RAPPA, and in Albert.
“Indeed the confusing and insulting articles by Observer and Wilkie Rasmussen following the by-election deserve nothing but contempt, and shows just how out of touch they are with the will of the people.”
Prime Minister Puna finished by saying: “To Albert and the people of RAPPA, your chosen Government is here to support you and to continue to work closely with you. We are proud to be associated with you and to have you as part of our team.
“The child benefit is about to be increased to $100 per month as from July 1 thanks to Albert’s efforts as Minister of Internal Affairs, and yes, the minimum wage is also set to increase to $7 an hour; another of his achievements.
“In short, your government looks forward to working with you to and achieve more for the benefit of our people in the years to come.
“Thank you again RAPPA for your strong and overwhelming support, and thank you Albert and your team for having such unshakeable faith and belief in doing the right thing and being the people’s choice ... Na te Atua tatou katoatoa e tauturu e e akameitaki mai.”