Speaker of the House Niki Rattle officially launched the website, which was redesigned by local website developer Byron Brown.
Rattle said the desire to improve on parliament’s website had been one of her long term goals.
She said an updated and functional website would keep the people informed on the latest developments at parliament.
“The public complain and they say, ‘what are those people doing in the parliament? There is no sitting today, there is no sitting this month or this half of the year - what do they do’,” Rattle said.
“In the actual fact, they do so much stuff in between (parliamentary sittings). Now we are able to let people know what’s going on in parliament because there are so many procedures and practices that people here are doing.”
Engagement with the community is also expected to improve with the new website, Rattle said.
“It’s a very big thing in the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association that parliament engages with community and as we all know, one of the roles of parliament is representation of the Members of Parliament.
“When they come here, they come to represent their constituencies. The website is a platform where we can put the profiles of the MPs so that people outside of the Cook Islands know who they are and who they represent.”
Parliament clerk (designate) Tangata Vainerere said the new website was part of anew draft strategic plan to develop a communications strategy for parliament
It was also one of the ways of improving parliament’s communication with Cook Islanders living here and abroad.
“Cook Islanders living in other countries always have shown interest in what we are doing here. Many times, they write in and express their opinion in the social media and sometimes those opinions don’t always match with the truth. So what we are doing here is to giving the people a tool whereby they can understand what goes on in parliament.”
Vainerere said they would retain an offline version of the old website which was supported by the Australian Parliament.
They would also put useful information from the old website into the new one.
“The Federal Parliament of Australia supported the set-up of the old website more than 10 years ago and our attempt to keeping the website up to date and fully operational has been less than desirable.
“We are glad to announce that we are starting a new journey in terms of improving the communication from parliament to the people. By (having the) website, we believe that we will be promoting transparency, which has always been the objective in parliament.”
Brown thanked parliament for the opportunity and the staff for their support.
The new website can be accessed at https://parliament.gov.ck/.