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Cook Islands politics heats up towards election day

03 May 2018

Posted in: Pacific Radio News,

By Lisa Williams-Lahari -

Internal politics are heating up for the two major parties facing off in the Cook Islands' upcoming general elections.

Cook Islands Party (CIP) President Nga Jessie has confirmed the exit of Rose Brown, who is now standing as an independent candidate for one of three seats on the island of Atiu.

Former MP Teina Bishop and incumbent MP Rose Brown. Photo/ Cook Islands News.

Brown, alongside husband Taoro, founded the Superbrown stores in Rarotonga and Atiu.

Taoro has since gone to media explaining how he and Rose were approached by Cook Islands Party officials, requesting they withdraw their 22-year-old daugher Tehani as the Democratic Party ticket against senior Cook Islands Party candidate Nandi Glassie in the Tengatangi-Areora-Ngatiarua electorate.

In a statement, Jessie claims the unique situation of a mother and daughter contesting in opposing parties has been heavily influenced by Rose's husband Taoro Brown.

Taoro is three years in to a five-year stand down from politics due to a conviction for receiving stolen goods.

He says the situation of family members choosing to stand in opposing parties is not unusual in the Cook Islands.

Lawyer Tina Brown was a CIP candidate while her father Dr Pupuke stood in the Democratic Party more than 20 years ago.

In the current elections, brothers William and Teariki Heather are both standing for neighbouring seats on Rarotonga - for opposing parties.

"Their [situation] is no different...but it's happening to us because of Nandi," says Taoro.

 Whatever the outcome, Rose Brown now joins former NZ Silver Fern Margharet Matenga in the ranks of ex CIP supporters.

Matenga is standing as an independent in the Titikaveka constituency against her sister-in-law Selina Napa, having lost out on the party nomination - which went to another woman heading into the political fray, Moeroa Tamangaro.

In Nikao, the nation's longest serving woman in politics, Ngamau Munokoa, is putting aside her hopes of retirement to stand again.

Meanwhile both the Democratic and CIP party presidents are in the northern Cooks busy with campaign hosting. 

Election day is June 14. 

Tags: Cook Islands, politics, elections, Pacific, polynesia, WIP,