Teava Iro is standing in his fourth election. PHOTO: POETC. 18050603
If there is one thing you can say about Teava Iro, it is that he does not quit.
Iro is once again hoping to represent the people of Titikaveka in parliament, and this year’s general election will mark his fourth attempt at doing so.
Iro says that there has been minimal change made by any government since he first entered the political arena. He wants different constituencies to “stop relying on government for a handout” and to initiate their own paths to prosperity.
Referring to the political party system currently adopted by the Cook Islands, Iro says “it is a gang system and you support that – the party system treats you as a commodity”.
He claims the current system of politics is too deeply entrenched in society and that people are “too loyal” to it. He describes the battle between the Cook Islands Party (CIP) and Democratic Party as a “cock-fight”.
“I’m about taking the power back to the people, to the constituencies.”
Iro says his plan is exactly as it was when he began: “Bring reform without changing any laws.”
His first priority would to be devolve parliament and establish a system of “community governance”.
“I want Titikaveka to stand on its own feet and say, ‘This is how things are going to be’,” he says.
The “master plan” as Iro describes it, is his own version of “pure Athenian democracy”.
He wants each constituency to hold regular meetings to discuss the short to long-term goals and issues for their respective constituencies. It will then be the job of their Member of Parliament to communicate this to the rest of parliament and ensure that “everyone has a voice”.
Iro used an example of each constituency introducing its own “bed-tax”.
“People would pay, say, two dollars more to stay in your village – that money would then be used to help make improvements to your village.
The priorities of the village will be decided by the village.”
Iro wants the “community governance” system entrenched in the constitution. He says that this will allow for “a better informed community through active participation”.
He says he has been approached by all of the political parties to join them, but said he could not “as a matter of principal”.
“By voting for me, you are voting for yourself,” he says.