Four-way battle for Ivirua

Saturday December 22, 2018 Written by Published in Politics

Agnes Armstrong, the wife of former Ivirua MP, the late Tony Armstrong, is one of the four candidates contesting the Ivirua by-election on Mangaia next month.


Agnes will run under the banner of the Democratic Party which was also the party Tony stood for in the June 14 election, before losing a long battle with cancer last month.

Former deputy prime minister with the Cook Islands Party (CIP) government, Teariki Heather, is also vying for the hotly-contested seat. He is contesting under the banner of the newly-formed Cook Islands United Party.

Daryl Rairi will stand for the governing CIP, while Jason Teremoana will contest as an independent.

In a statement, Democratic Party Opposition leader Terepai Maoate said he was “absolutely delighted” that a “strong, intelligent and kind” woman will stand for the Demos in the Ivirua by-election on January 21.

Agnes was unanimously supported by the Ivirua Democratic Party committee to be their Democratic candidate, the statement added.

Maoate said Agnes was the best possible candidate for the Ivirua constituency in Mangaia and all caucus members were very pleased that she accepted the nomination.

“We are all very, very pleased that Agnes has taken up the challenge; she will be an awesome representative for Ivirua,” Maoate said.

“Agnes brings years of business experience with her, she is a successful business woman, she comes from a tight knit family who are involved in various businesses in the country, she has good family values and integrity.

“We are very confident that Agnes will be the successful candidate after the by-election and she will be able to fulfill their shared vision which was to see a revival of agriculture on Mangaia and carry on the legacy that Tony left behind.”

Deputy prime minister and CIP deputy leader Mark Brown said they were confident about the chances of “Ivirua boy” Rairi claiming the important seat.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for the village of Ivirua and island of Mangaia to look at putting forward a Member of Parliament who will be able to sit at the government table and have a voice essentially that is with the government,” Brown said.

“We are very happy and very comfortable with the candidate that we have selected and he has put himself forward for the first time to run in the election.”

Brown said their campaign in lead up to the Ivirua by-election would be “a low key”.

“Certainly there won’t be any food on offer and no drinks as we have seen, the law can be used against you in these events. We have to be very, very mindful and careful. I’m making the statement now to preempt any legal challenge that may occur from the opposition that our campaign will not involve any sort of food or drinks of any kind.”

The Ivirua constituency has been regarded a Democratic stronghold but Brown is quietly confident of turning the tables come next month.

“Before it was a Democratic stronghold, it was a Cook Islands Party stronghold where at one stage, we held three seats for a long period of time – in fact until our sitting members in Tamarua and Ivirua passed away.

“Since then of course the representation has been strong with the Democratic Party, but we think we have a very good opportunity in the by-election and we look forward to the challenge.”

Ivirua is one of the smallest electorates in the Cook Islands, with just over 80 voters.  

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