Putting their differences aside

Wednesday September 16, 2020 Written by Published in Politics
New, redesigned roof trusses were a big part of the cost blowout, says dismissed Parliamentary Clerk Tangata Vainerere. Photo: RASHNEEL KUMAR 19111820 New, redesigned roof trusses were a big part of the cost blowout, says dismissed Parliamentary Clerk Tangata Vainerere. Photo: RASHNEEL KUMAR 19111820

Former clerk of parliament and Speaker of the House have agreed to move forward and put the past behind them. 

Speaker of Parliament Niki Rattle and the former clerk of parliament Tangata Vainerere have resolved their differences through a “friendly” mediation process.

Tangata Vainerere was dismissed earlier in March after the cost of building a new debating chamber in Parliament blew out by $352,000.

The initial budget for the project was $300,000.

Earlier this year, Vainerere told Cook Islands News the blowout was caused by the decision to lengthen the building a couple of metres to make it more spacious, a high-spec septic tank that was compliant with environment and health regulations, near the beach, an altered roof truss design to meet safety requirements and paying for labour.

They had thought government workers would do the labour, but in order to meet challenging deadlines, they ended up subcontracting out to the private sector.

Vainerere had also admitted to legal breaches and said that due to tight timeframes, they had to ignore some policies in order to meet deadlines and that meant not putting all contracts out to tender.

“That was my crime,” he said at the time.

Vainerere had been in the role for 14 months and was responsible for managing parliament’s staff, and the progress of legislation was commended.

He had said that due to the cost over-runs, the Speaker gave him a letter and he took full responsibility.

It was understood he was taking legal advice over his dismissal for ‘serious misconduct’.

This week, Parliament released a statement on behalf of the Speaker and Vainerere.

Rattle said: “I am pleased to say that Tangata Vainerere, the previous Clerk of Parliament and I have had the opportunity to discuss our differences, through a friendly mediation process, we have agreed to move forward and put the events relating to the end of Tangata’s employment behind us.”

They wished each other all the best in their future endeavours.

Tangata told Cook Islands News, the statement was on behalf of both of them.

No further information on the mediation process could be disclosed due to a confidentiality mediation clause that was signed.

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