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Petition hearing dates confirmed

Monday 3 October 2022 | Written by Matthew Littlewood | Published in Court, National


Petition hearing dates confirmed

Hearings on whether the Cook Islands Party’s tax-free policy for the Pa Enua is tantamount to bribery will take place this week.

The petitions, from the Cook Islands United Party, allege that the Cook Island Party’s policy of tax exemptions for people in the Pa Enua earning under $60,000 was bribery similar to the CIP’s free fly-in votes in 1978, which resulted in the Electoral Court declaring the votes of the fly-in electors from New Zealand invalid.

At a call-over in the High Court in Avarua on Thursday, Chief Justice Sir Hugh Williams set down hearings to take place in Atiu on October 3 and October 4, in Mitiaro on October 5 and Rarotonga on October 6.

The other part of the petition alleges that Independent MPs Rose Toki-Brown and Te-Hani Brown from Atiu were guilty of treating by giving away free food at an event on June 13, the day the general election was called. Both MPs were re-elected and formed a coalition with the governing Cook Islands Party.

However, Chief Justice Williams struck out that part of the petition, agreeing with the respondents’ assertion that there was insufficient information for that claim to proceed.

This has been challenged by the Cook Islands United Party, and will go to the Court of Appeal.