Independent MP for Mauke Stephen Matapo (left) says discussions had begun regarding a potential ministerial position. 22082507
The incoming coalition government’s newest member Stephen Matapo says teaming up with the Cook Islands Party was the right move for Mauke, adding discussions had begun regarding a potential ministerial position.
The Cook Islands Party now has a 15 seat
to nine advantage in Parliament, pending the electoral petitions, followingthe Independent MP’s announcement on
Wednesday to join the party.
In an interview with Cook Islands News
yesterday, Matapo said: “For me to come and be part of the CIP as a member of Government
was the right way forward in terms for Mauke.”
He said it was the right way forward given
the CIP led government’s commitment to put projects in motion for his island.
“I can see that with CIP back in
government there is a strong probability that these projects should be
“In Mauke we are supporting the Government
and the projects that are currently being undertaken and the projects that are
in the pipeline.”
Matapo said joining the Government was “a sign
of showing support” to the projects.
“We are in full support of what the
government has planned for Mauke and I think it would be good to be part of
Matapo has traditionally been a staunch
CIP supporter. His grandfather and father were both MPs for CIP.
He said “circumstances” prior to the
August 1 general election meant he ran as an Independent candidate instead of
Matapo said discussions had begun
regarding a potential ministerial position.
“We just have to wait to see when the
petitions are over to see if we (CIP coalition) are part of the team for
government and then we will go from there.”
Matapo said he could not comment on what
potential Cabinet role he could get at present.
92 votes to claim the seat, beating Cook Islands Party’s Eileen Story (62) and
Cook Islands United Party’s Lotiola Mateariki (11). The Mauke seat was
previously held by CIP’s Tai Tura, who is now the Speaker of the House.
He thanked his family for their support
and praised God.
“To all my supporters that have supported
me with their prayers and I just want to say thank you very much.
“Also, to the Prime Minister,
congratulations on the election and coming back into government again. It’s
humbling for me to be part of the government for the next four years and I look
forward to serving Mauke because Mauke deserves it.”
In a statement released Wednesday night
from the Office of the Prime Minister, PM Mark Brown said: “We welcome Stephen
to our team and we know that he will add value with his business background and
more recently his desire to do more for the Pa Enua Islands.”
Matapo has a background working for the
Cook Islands Police and for customs. He currently co-owns a business with his
wife called Tina & Co which hires party goods. They also own the 24-hour shop
five electoral petitions, including two against the Atiu MPs and two against
Cook Islands Party MPs in Mitiaro and Titikaveka, and one application for a
recount, will be back in the High Court today. The matters will be presided by
Chief Justice Sir Hugh Williams via Zoom.