While opening the two-day bills workshop at the Crown Beach Resort and Spa in Arorangi yesterday, Marshall urged the MPs to make good use of the opportunity to be more effective in parliamentary proceedings
The aim of the workshop is to brief the MPs on bills already tabled in the House and on the Order Paper for the second reading at the next sitting of Parliament, starting on Monday next week.
“I’m putting down the challenge to the MPs that when you are on the other side of the business, that you will be on top of your game in relation to the nuances of the organisation that is going to be periled and whether that will be in terms of challenging bills going through,” Marshall said.
“I wish you the best. Take it seriously because you have a hugely important role in the context of the parliamentary setting and I know you know that.”
Only about half of the Cook Islands MPs were present at the opening of the workshop. Deputy prime minister Teariki Heather was the lone Cabinet minister.
Following the opening, officials from the Ministry of Marine Resources and the Crown Law Office presented the Marine Resources Bill.
The objective of this session was to outline key issues in parts 1-6 of the Marine Resources Bill and to allow MPs to seek clarification on these parts of the bill.
Today the MMR and Crown Law Office will be presenting the Maritime Zones Bill.
This workshop will be followed by another two-day session on standing orders, starting at parliament on Thursday.
The workshops are part of the Pacific Parliamentary Effectiveness Initiative (PPEI) programme organised by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in collaboration with the Cook Islands Parliament.
The PPEI, which is funded by the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (NZMFAT) is a three-year project extended to the Cook Islands since 2016.
“As Speaker, since the implementation of PPEI, it has indeed been a privilege and great milestone to have UNDP and NZMFAT to work in partnership with the Parliament of the Cook Islands in capacity building and skills development programs to empower MPs with the right skills and exposure to best practices in carrying out their Parliamentary role and responsibilities in their individual political development,” said Niki Rattle.
The week-long workshops will include a Speaker’s Debate on mental health to be held on Thursday at the National Auditorium. The debate will start at 5pm.