HERALD WEEKLY ISSUE 505: 31 March 2010

Ministers say no Demo Party ultimatum has been issued

The so-called ultimatum to the four Ministers to resign their positions and come back to the Democratic Party does not exist as far as Minister Smiley Heather and his CEO, Tere Taio are concerned.
CEO, Tere Taio dismisses the speculation as ‘all talk and no action’ because no such ultimatum has been issued with none of the Ministers having received nothing at all by way of a letter to that effect.
Nor was any such ultimatum issued at any of the numerous meetings the Ministers held with the Demo Party Central Committee, Caucus and Puna representatives leading up to the invitation for Hon Cassey Eggelton to become the sixth Minister.
They dismiss media reports of the so-called ultimatum as pure speculation because there is nothing in ‘black and white’ from the Executive. The matter has not even been raised or suggested let alone discussed at any of the series of meetings held over several day in the days leading up to the invitation to have Matavera MP, Hon Cassey Eggelton become the sixth Minister in the Cabinet line up.
At the meetings, nearly all Punas wanted unity and for all parties to come together as one again. Titikaveka and Matavera were all for unity. Some constituencies sitting on the fence, but others expressed their loyalty and support of Ngatangiia MP, Hon Sir Terepai Maoate. The only constituency Puna to state their opposition to the continuation of the Ministers was from Tupapa MP Hon John Tangi who called for the Ministers to resign from Government but apart from that outburst, nothing more has been said.
The Ministers as a group have their own suggestion to settle the matter in a democratic process by way of a Special Conference whereby the issue of leadership can be settled amicably.
They say that if Party leader, Sir Terepai Maoate survives the vote then good on him but if not then it is time for a new leader. The leadership issue was not put to one side at the 2009 Democratic Party conference with the promise of addressing that issue at a conference to be held prior to the General Election.
The current Executive have reneged on calling a Special Conference on the ground that it would be ‘dangerous’ for the Party. The Ministers say it is more because the Party executives are uncertain of being voted in again.
Cook Islands Herald rang the office of the DPM, Hon Robert Wigmore for comment but was meeting in council. When told the purpose of the call, his CEO confirmed that the DPM has not received anything in writing nor is she aware of Minister Cassey Eggelton having received any such letter either. Minister Apii Piho was not in his office for comment, nor could his CEO, Ken Buchanan be reached for comment.
Prime Minister says he has the confidence of his Ministers
When asked for comment, a spokesman for Prime Minister Hon Jim Marurai said things have remained the same and the PM still has enjoys the confidence of all his Ministers. His spokesman said the PM has not received any resignations and nor does he anticipate receiving any such resignations.
The only change has been the addition of Matavera MP, Hon Cassey Eggelton as the sixth Cabinet Minister on Tuesday 23 March 2010. The PM sees the addition of Hon Cassey Eggelton as a very positive move on the part of Government.
William Heather Jnr endorsed as Democratic candidate for Ruaau
Minister William (Smiley) Heather Jnr has been unanimously re-endorsed as the Democratic candidate for the Ruaau electorate.
This is the decision of the Ruaau Puna which met on earlier this week. At the meeting all the issues were raised about the internal divisions within the Democratic Party and Ruaau wants to see stability in Government and have approved his remaining as Minister within the Cabinet under PM, Hon Jim Marurai.
Meanwhile, it is business as usual for the MOIP Minister who was on his way to the island of Mangaia on Wednesday morning.
The purpose of the visit is to take a first hand inspection of the Infrastructure projects there notably the harbour project, and the upcoming road project set up by Winton Pickering, MP for Oneroa. Crusher machines are being setup to crush coral rocks for the road project and the Minister will also be taken on an inspection of the various water supplies. While there he will see if there are other areas where the island could do with assistance as part of the government commitment to Mangaia.

Herald Issue 463 10 June
- World famous activist assisting residents
- Budget will decide if residents prosecute Government over landfill
- Forestry project sucking Mangaia dry
- Budget 2010 – fiasco or disaster?

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