Inside the new Queen Elizabeth Gallery, from left Tukaka Ama (MP for Ngatangiia); Teokotai Herman (MP for Vaipae-Tautu); Tangata Vainerere (Clerk of Parliament); Tim Vary (MP for Ruaau); Robert Heather (MP for Akaoa). Photo credit: Unuia Unuia/22100411
Four new Members of Parliament got a crash-course in procedures on Tuesday.
Tukaka Ama (MP for Ngatangiia), Robert S. Heather (MP
for Akaoa), Timi Varu (MP for Ruaau), and Teokotai Herman (MP for Vaipae-Tautu)
attended the event, which featured sessions on the Constitution, the Parliament
Handbook and the new Standing Orders.
They also got information on members’ entitlements,
and tips on how to give their maiden speech to the House.
Ama, of the Cook Islands Party, said it had now sunk
in that he was an elected MP.
“It was a bit of a long journey to get there, we were
tied on election night, but managed to get enough votes to pull through in the
final count,” he said.
“I found the day really interesting, in terms of what
are some of the ‘dos and donts’ around parliament and what the expectations
Ama said it was also a good opportunity to meet some
of the other new MPs.
“Now that the election campaign and all that is over,
it’s important that we all look to get the job done. My constituents will be
asking a lot of me, and I need to deliver. There’s a lot of work to be done in
my constituency, particularly when it comes to essential infrastructure such as
roads,” he said.
Heather said it was a good learning experience.
“It gave us a good idea of what we can and can’t do as
elected members,” Heather said.
“There’s a lot of reading and catching up to do.”
Heather, of the Cook Islands United Party, said he was
coming to terms with the fact he was an MP.
“I know I won’t be able to sit on my backside, I’ll
have to be out there helping my constituents and making sure things get done.
I’m looking forward to it.”