MPs’ shameful work habits

Monday July 15, 2019 Published in Letters to the Editor
Cook Islands Parliament. 18100924 Cook Islands Parliament. 18100924

Dear Editor,

The landmark decision to pamper MPs with a whopping $700,000 windfall is absurd and unjustified. They do not deserve it; they did not earn it.


For many years, speculations over the coconut wireless about the exorbitant amount of money they are paid is soured with the knowledge that Parliament sits only a few days a year. In a good year, they can boast 14 half days of it. This is an ongoing maki with our Parliament that is festering despite endless talks. It is not surprising that people saw red when Cook Islands News featured an article, ‘PM’s pay tops $152,000 as MPs get big pay hike’ (June 20).

It is gut-wrenching to read that the Tua Akatanotano (opposing Democratic Party) instead of doing some akatanotanoanga (arguing against this bill) jumped on the bandwagon and awarded themselves one hell of a rise.

This unchallenged 45 per cent pay adjustment took some of our honourable members over a six-figure threshold, with electric cars thrown in at the same time. There was no mention about improving their shameful work habits.

No change will ever take place while Henry Puna is prime minister and the Cook Islands Party the Government. They made many controversial changes, but could not put the finger on making the simplest.

Parliament House at Nikao is the heartbeat of the Government, not Cabinet meetings at the Prime Minister’s Office.

A functional government operates on a regular basis; sad to say, the hallways and Chamber of Parliament House, seldom echo to sounds of footbeats and debates. I see work is underway to extend the debating chambers of Parliament House – what for?

Dennis Tunui


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