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‘Probables’ versus the ‘possibles’

Thursday June 21, 2018 Written by Published in Politics

As negotiations continue between the Democratic Party (Demos), the Cook Islands Party (CIP), One Cook Islands (OCI), and the independents as to who will form the next government, CINews takes a look at who is likely to land a ministerial portfolio and what Cabinet may look like, depending on which party claims a majority.



A coalition between the Demos, OCI, and independents is favoured to take place, meaning the Democratic Party will lead the government for the first time since 2010. With only Terepai Maoate and William ‘Smiley’ Heather remaining from the last Demo government, a number of the recently elected members stand to gain their first experience in government.

Minister of Energy and Renewable Energy, Minister of the Outer Islands, Minister of Marine Resources, Minister of Transport, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Immigration, Minister of Tourism:

With all of the above portfolios currently being held by Henry Puna, it is likely whoever leads the next government will also take on a number of these ministries.

In 2009, Heather was appointed Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Planning and Minister of Energy. He has also been the Demo Party’s spokesman for Foreign Affairs and Immigration, Agriculture, and Justice, amongst others. With all of this experience behind him, Heather would be an obvious choice for not only the above ministerial portfolios, but also the job of prime minister.

Minister of Infrastructure and Planning, Minister of the House of Ariki, Minister of Cultural Development, Minister of Police:

Former deputy prime minister Teariki Heather held these portfolios, for obvious reasons. His older brother William may have a chance of once again becoming the minister of infrastructure. These positions were held by the number two in Cabinet due to their obvious importance. It is likely that whoever follows in Teariki Heather’s footsteps, will also pick some of these portfolios.

Selina Napa is one possibility for the position, as is independent Rose Brown, who was once also opposition leader. Tamaiva Tuavera has also stated his interest in pursuing a position of leadership and is likely to gain a ministerial portfolio. Also look out for Terepai Maoate, who is shaping up to be a likely leader in the Demo ranks.

Independent MP for Penrhyn Robert Tapaitau may chase the outer islands portfolio and justice, considering his father Tepure Tapaitau QSM was the first Cook Islander to become the commissioner of police.

Minister of Internal Affairs, Minister of Youth and Sport, Ombudsman, Punanga Nui:

Currently held by Albert Nicholas, the youth and sport portfolio may be gifted to new MP Te-Hani Brown, who is only 22 years old. However, it is more likely that the better-experienced Napa or Tuavera will pick up these portfolios. OCI’s George Maggie has not ruled out chasing a ministerial position and could be suited to internal affairs.

Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Seabed Minerals and Natural Resources, Minister of Commerce Commission, Minister of

Financial Intelligence Unit, Minister of Financial Services Development Authority, Minister of Cook Islands Investment Corporation, Minister of Telecommunications, Minister of National Superannuation, Minister of Public Expenditure Review Committee and Audit, Minister of Cook Islands Pearl Authority:

Incredibly, Mark Brown held all 10 of these portfolios for the last government. With former Demo finance spokesperson James Beer failing to win a seat in parliament, it is likely Terepai Maoate will pick up a number of these portfolios. During the previous Democratic Party reign, Maoate was the associate minister of both finance and health.

<bold>Minister of Health, Minister of Justice, Minister of Parliamentary Services:

As previously mentioned, Maoate was the previous Demo government’s associate minister of health and is likely to again pick up this portfolio. Justice may also go to Heather, who was once Demo spokesperson for the portfolio.

<bold>Minister of Agriculture, Minister of Business, Trade and Investment Board, Minister of National Environment Services:

New MP Vaitoti Tupa may be thrown in at the deep end and is likely to pick-up the national environment services (NES) portfolio. Tupa was director of the NES for over a decade and has a wealth of knowledge in the area. Agriculture may go to another new MP, Nooroa Baker, who much experience in that industry. The business, trade, and investment board seems likely to go to Maoate.

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