Te-Hani quits Demos

Thursday February 07, 2019 Written by Published in Politics

Te-Hani Brown has quit the Democratic Party and will stand as an independent candidate for her current seat in the upcoming by-election.

 

Brown won the Areora-Tengatangi-Ngatiarua electorate in the 2018 election but last month decided to defect to the Cook Islands Party-led coalition government to give them a majority.

Now she plans to stand as an independent candidate in a by-election that will be announced later.

In a statement yesterday Brown said she advised the Speaker of the Parliament Niki Rattle, as well as the president of the Democratic Party Sean Willis, about her resignation as the MP for the seat “effective immediately”.

Rattle confirmed receiving Brown’s resignation, adding she had started the process of vacating the seat and advising the chief electoral officer Taggy Tangimetua to set a date for a by-election.

Brown said she intend to contest the upcoming by-election as an independent candidate so that she could continue to represent her people in her constituency and freely support the government of the day.

“I believe that I am doing the right thing in handing the seat back to the people who voted me in – who also supported and influenced this decision – allowing them the right to reinstate me as an independent member that can continue to be their voice in Parliament,” she said.

“I look forward to continuing my work as an MP so that I can continue helping our people of Enuamanu, and support the government with the completion of our projects.”

Brown decided to join her mother Rose Brown, who is the Health minister, and the government after Democratic Party retained the Ivirua seat in a by-election last month, forcing a hung Parliament.

Her defection raised eyebrows from the Demos who stated the party committee in the electorate was unaware of the move and was committed to supporting the Party.

When asked for comment regarding Te-Hani’s resignation, Democratic Party leader and Opposition Leader Tina Browne said it was very disappointing that the youngest MP had been influenced to change political allegiance.

“At the end of the day, it is her voters, her Democratic Party committee and Demos in general who have been let down. But the biggest burden of this action is of course going to be carried by the taxpayer who will have to pay for a by-election in the Tengatangi-Areora-Ngatiarua constituency,” Browne said.

Browne said this could have all been avoided if Te-Hani had remained steadfast and true to her voters and the Democratic Party which helped her to victory in the last general election.

“So instead of preparing to go to Parliament, which is long overdue to sit, and do the important and much needed work we have as parliamentarians, there is now the distraction of a by-election,” she said.

Browne said the current situation reminded her of the words of a former US President Calvin Coolidge who said “politics is not an end, but a means. It is not a product, but a process. It is the art of government. Like other values it has its counterfeits. So much emphasis has been placed upon the false that the significance of the true has been obscured and politics has come to convey the meaning of crafty and cunning selfishness, instead of candid and sincere service”.

Te-Hani earlier said she decided to support the government of the day and do whatever was necessary to continue to provide for the people of Areora-Ngatiarua-Tengatangi and Enuamanu as whole by working alongside her mother, who is also an independent MP.

“If my people want me to join government, and the benefits of doing so outweighs the bad, then of course why not,” Te-Hani said.

“A stable government is what we need today so that the machinery of government can continue to operate and to ensure that the good work and projects aren’t disrupted. We want to get work done, and we want it done now.

“I know that politics can be a tough business, I am prepared for it. To my critics, I encourage you to run for your people in future so you can serve them with the same values that I have.”

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