Around 50 people turned up to the Rakahanga Hostel in Avarua to help celebrate.
OCI also used the opportunity to explain their priorities heading into the June 14 election. “We are changing the political arena!” exclaimed OCI leader and former MP Teina Bishop. The night began with a prayer, followed by singing and speeches. There was also a birthday cake honouring OCI’s four years in the political arena.
“We established ourselves four long years ago” Bishop said to the crowd. “Not much has changed since then” he added.
He acknowledged the efforts of all party members, but especially that of the Member of Parliament (MP) for Tupapa-Mararenga, “George Action Man” Maggie. Bishop received a warm welcome when he stood to address his supporters. Only three of the five OCI candidates were present at the celebration. All three used the opportunity to address the party faithful. They touched on issues ranging from environmental care to the removal of taxes. However, OCI saved the best for last in Maggie. He received a wild welcome when he stood to address the crowd and was an obvious favourite of theirs.
“We have the Cook Islands Party (CIP) supporting us on one side and the Democratic Party (Demos) on the other…we are the party of peace” said Bishop, receiving an applause in return.
OCI’s manifesto was then blessed by the candidates and handed out for the crowd to dissect and analyse.
CINews revealed OCI’s national policy priorities last week, including their proposal to “abolish” income tax or PAYE for all Cook Islands workers. However, OCI also unveiled its constituency policy priorities last night. They have 25 policy priorities for the constituencies of Titikaveka, Mauke, Muri-Enua, Tupapa-Mararerenga, and Arenikau. The constituency policies include land reform, tax exemptions for local entrepreneurs, removing gas levies, improved roads, and even free water tanks. George Maggie is currently OCI’s sole MP. OCI’s candidates for the upcoming elections are John Tumutoa, Nane Williams, Teariki Unuka, Pumati Isaraela, and George Maggie. Maggie says OCI is likely to have its “rally”, or campaign launch sometime the week after next.