Poll to address key issues

Saturday May 18, 2019 Written by Published in National

An independent political opinion poll addressing key national issues will be conducted by Cook Islands News next week.

 

The poll will look into much debated issues such as the proposed increase in parliamentarians’ pay, seabed exploration plans, road safety and the potable water project.

CI News publisher John Woods said the poll would be a reliable one aimed at getting the feeling of the whole nation on the topical current affairs.

Woods said the newspaper has 400 randomly selected numbers provided from the telephone directory, and the newspaper intended to call 100 of them for this national poll of electors and to obtain a reliable sampling of views reflecting opinion of the entire population.

“There are some contentious topics we want to address in this poll and we hope the result will influence parliamentarians’ thinking and the parties’ policies on these issues such as whether MPs deserve a pay rise, and whether the water  supply on Rarotonga should be chlorinated or not,” Woods said.

“Why isn’t the government consulting the public on these matters properly, why aren’t they running referendum on these important issues? Sadly is it left to the media to address these issues rather than by professional polling.”

The MP pay rise issue was first raised by deputy prime minister Mark Brown in Parliament last month.

Brown earlier said he believed the remuneration of the MPs needed to be upgraded.

The finance minister said after 14 years Parliament was going through a review of MP remuneration and allowances to be conducted by the Remuneration Tribunal.

The Opposition Democratic Party claimed the government proposes to increase MPs’ pay by 45 per cent.

However, Democratic Party leader Tina Browne said any increase in pay should be matched by an increase in Parliament sitting days.

According to the Civil List Act 2005, the prime minister gets an annual salary of $105,000 while the deputy prime minister receives $95,000.

Cabinet ministers, the Speaker of Parliament and the leader of the Opposition receive $85,000 each.

The deputy Opposition leader, Leader of the House, Whips and associate ministers each receive $50,000 salary and $5000 allowance.

Rank and file MPs are paid $50,000 each per annum.

All MPs receive some housing allowances and a clothing allowance of $5000 per parliamentary term. The clothing allowance is to enable them to purchase appropriate attire for all sittings of Parliament including select committee meetings.

The draft Seabed Minerals Bill 2019 has been through public consultation and a report is expected to be tabled in Parliament next month.

The purpose of this Act is to enable the effective and responsible management of the seabed minerals of the Cook Islands in a way that is also consistent with international rules and principles recognised by the country, provides a stable, effective, and efficient regulatory framework and promotes transparent, informed, co-operative, and consultative decision-making.

It is also seeks to maximise the benefits of seabed mineral activities for present and future generations of Cook Islanders.

The poll will also get people’s views on speeding, drink-driving and the wearing of helmets on motorbikes as well as on the issue of water chlorination.

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