Former New Zealand Army firearms instructor Tamaiva Tuavera has promised better training and resources for the police to fight crime.
Democratic Party leader Tina Browne has officially named Ngatangiia MP Tuavera as opposition Police spokesperson.
It is part of her “fresh start” – in which Browne announced MPs’ appointments to portfolio they have already held for two or more years.
Tuavera said he had asked for the police portfolio, along with marine resources.
“I think we would all like to see becoming a police officer in the Cook Islands being a real career pathway for our committed, educated young people, increase salaries, raise the entry level, improve morale, facilitate ongoing training here and abroad – just some of the advances that I’d like to see happen,” said Tuavera.
In announcing her fresh start, Browne said MPs strengths were taken into consideration, and some had already been quite vocal in expressing concerns in certain portfolios.
“They’ve put their hands up to be the Opposition spokesperson for portfolios that they are passionate about.”
She alluded to the resignation of her chief of staff, William Framhein, after he lied to police and the public about writing a controversial Facebook post from the funeral of Mona Ioane, a 14-year-old who died in a fatal road crash.
“The Party had a bit of a bumpy start to the year, but now that’s behind us and we are looking forward to a year of working hard for our communities, our Ipukarea, our Democratic Party and readying ourselves for the next general elections,” Browne said.
Matavera MP Vaitoti Tupa asked for Environment and the Cook Islands Investment Corporation, given his background as former director of the National Environment Services and familiarity with the workings of the Investment Corporation.
He will share both portfolios with senior MPs. He will also handle Agriculture, Cultural Development, Finance and Economic Development;
Browne, herself, will scrutinise Crown Law, Foreign Affairs and Immigration, Office of the Prime Minister and Outer Islands, and Tourism.
Her deputy Terepai Maoate will be spokesperson for Audit, Broadcasting and Telecommunications, Financial Intelligence Unit, Seabed Mining Authority and Natural Resources.
William Heather will look at Corrective Services, Infrastructure, Public Service Commission.
Selina Napa will help handle Environment, as well as the Financial Services Development Authority, Sports, and the big portfolio of Health.
Nooroa Baker will oversee Renewable Energy, and Transport;
Kitai Teinakore will be responsible for the House of Ariki and the Koutu Nui, as well as the Ombudsman.
Tetangi Matapo has three big portfolios, as spokesperson for the Business, Trade and Investment Board, Education and Justice.
Wesley Kareroa takes on National Superannuation and Parliamentary Services; while Agnes Armstrong will look at Internal Affairs, and Outer Islands Special Projects.