By-election: Appealing or not?

Saturday August 10, 2019 Written by Published in Politics
Tina Browne.  18032726 Tina Browne. 18032726

The Democratic Party may consider a High Court appeal, after losing an electoral challenge over the result of an Atiu by-election.

 

Leader Tina Browne said the party was reviewing and deliberating on the judgement in the Tengatangi-Areora-Ngatiarua petition.

The Opposition party has 20 working days to decide on its next step before a by-election is called to determine a new Member of Parliament for the vacant seat. At that point, former MPs Te-Hani Brown or Nandi Glassie could put their hats back in the ring – but so too could anyone else.

Independent candidate Brown won the by-election in March this year, but the Demos’ Nandi Glassie filed a petition, alleging her electoral agents committed bribery.

The petition was centred on Te-Hani’s father Taoro Brown paying for a chartered flight to carry senior government ministers from Rarotonga to Atiu to speak at her rally.

Chief Justice Sir Hugh Williams this week dismissed the petition, saying there was no clear evidence to substantiate the claims made by Glassie that Taoro Brown was acting on his daughter’s behalf or with her knowledge.

Democratic Party leader Browne said they were disappointed with the decision but respected the law and the judgment.

Deputy Prime Minister Mark Brown has suggested the Democratic Party not consider the “very costly Court of Appeal process”, saying it would be better they accept the High Court’s decision and go back to the people of Tengatangi-Areora-Ngatiarua to let them decide who they want to represent them.

Te-Hani, who initially won the seat under the Democratic Party banner in last year’s general election, resigned and stood as an Independent so that she could join the Cook Islands Party-led coalition government.

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