War of words over minister

Thursday June 20, 2019 Written by Published in Politics

The government and opposition are engaging in a war of words over the appointment of Toka Hagai as a seventh minister.


Hagai, the former Rakahanga MP, is yet to be cleared of the “treating” allegation labelled against him.

This week, Democratic Party MP Selina Napa criticised the addition of an extra minister to the Henry Puna-led Cabinet, saying it was waste of taxpayers’ money.

Now, Cook Islands Party secretary-general Nooroa Roi says there has been no public confirmation of who the seventh minister would be. 

Roi said for Napa to make public comments stating that Hagai will be the seventh minister while the police investigation was still being conducted was a public smear on his name and may have prejudiced the investigation. 

“This political interference in the judicial process is a disgrace by the Democratic Party and an indictment on their leader, as an officer of the court, to allow a fellow Demo MP Sel Napa to smear her Rakahanga political rival in the media,” Roi said.

“Now to kick the man while he is being investigated only shows the true vindictive and litigious nature of the Demo Party.”

Roi also clarified why Hagai resided in a government house.

“Toka Hagai was allowed to rent a government house while he was an MP and he has a tenancy agreement like all tenants of government houses. The Cook Islands Party coalition government is not in the business of kicking people out of government homes,” he said. 

“We are here to help our people, unlike the Demos who want to evict Toka from his home. If that was the case then they should demand that we evict failed Demos candidate Nandi Glassie and also Tina Browne’s own brother who lives in a government house previously occupied by her father as a former MP.”

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