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New Progressive Party claims support of MPs

Saturday October 12, 2019 Written by Published in Politics
Te Tuhi Kelly has been a top public servant and workplace advocate. 191011111 Te Tuhi Kelly has been a top public servant and workplace advocate. 191011111

Concerns at Chinese influence, poor public service and ‘arrogant government’ behind outspoken new political party. 


A new party is being formed out of “dissatisfaction” some Cook Islanders feel at both government and opposition.

Te Tuhi Kelly, a former senior public servant, is today announcing the formation of the Progressive Party of the Cook Islands.

He said the proposed party had the backing of business owners and some “fed up” politicians – including some from the governing Cook Islands Party coalition.

“People have had enough,” he said. “They want a proper party, a party that doesn’t do political appointments and favours, but discusses issues and listens to its people.

“We are going to capture those areas where government are deficient.”

Deputy Prime Minister Mark Brown dismissed Kelly’s comments on support of some government MPs towards the new party labelling it as a “desperate call for volunteers rather than an actual fact”.

“Our team in government is solid and we are looking to increase government numbers in the coming by-election,” Brown said.

But Kelly said there were a lot of dissatisfied Cook Islanders who were concerned at growing Chinese influence, poor public service, and an “arrogant government” that failed to handle key issues such as chlorination.

Already there are four political parties operating here: the Cook Islands Party, Democratic Party, One Cook Islands Party and the Cook Islands United Party.

“When you look at all these parties, there are no new ideas there, no initiatives,” Kelly said. “They promote their people into roles in public service although they don’t have skills and experience in those roles.

“When parties are in power for a number of years, the arrogance comes out and the arrogance (of this government) around key issues such as the consultation on water issue proves this.”

Mark Brown wished Kelly “good luck” in forming a new political party but warned “many have tried to form new parties and all have failed”. 

“I wondered about this huge complaint about life in general in our country in his (Kelly’s) letter to the editor during the week, which was accusing Cook Islands MPs, elected by their peers, as being too dumb to do their job. 

“And it ended with some not so subtle political overtures. 

“Our job as government is to get on with the work and improve the lives of our people. You can never satisfy everybody but we should be proud of our country when compared to other countries in the Pacific and the world who would envy our lifestyle and our country.”

Te Tuhi Kelly said he was working on the party constitution and was planning on holding a number of political rallies to get the ball rolling.

The next general election will be held in 2022.

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