Do away with constituencies

Friday May 16, 2014 Published in Letters to the Editor
Mauke resident June Hosking. 13071804 Mauke resident June Hosking. 13071804

Dear Editor, “A politician is essentially a policy maker”'.

That little revelation (to me anyway) from the articles for women in politics just reiterates my thoughts on managing our nation.

Perhaps the reason it is possible for politicians to jump from one party to another in the Cook Islands is because they pretty much want the same things.

We’re a small, fairly insular nation, holding mostly similar basic values, e.g. we all want to keep our little paradise looking good, the importance of culture and language are heart issues for the majority (I assume); we understand we need a growing population for the economy, but also Cook Islanders coming home for strengthening and care of the extended family, lands etc.

So do we really need parties at all? A radical idea with pitfalls, but maybe it’ll stir some thinking and better ideas for a total reform.

What if we had no politicians representing constituencies in Rarotonga or the outer islands? What if we had an empowered and trained elected Mayor and Council looking after their local body issues? The job of the politicians would then be to look after national and international issues, hold the purse strings, make policies, read all that fine print, and become well versed in affairs and issues both nationally and internationally so that they could make good decisions.

Mayors would have to play a greater role than they presently do as they would be the liaison between parliament and local body.

Those standing for election as politicians would need to provide a snap shot and information about themselves to the whole of the Cook Islands because everyone would be voting for their top 10 or 12 politicians. They won’t represent any single group of people; they will represent the whole of the Cook Islands.

The top 10 or 12 elected become Government and the next 10 or 12 are the opposition to keep debate and thinking alive in parliament. They may as well be based in Raro so they are available for daily work and to save money on interisland travel, or at least spend lengthy times on Raro at Parliament keeping up to date with info, HoMs and accessing the expertise they need for good decision making.

This is a skeleton of an idea, but what do you think?

June Hosking

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