Wednesday, January 20, 2021

New Cook Islands prime minister awards himself 17 Cabinet posts

The opposition suggests the PM lacks confidence in his own MPs.

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The new Cook Islands prime minister, Mark Brown, has now allocated Cabinet posts, giving himself 17 portfolios.

These include finance, which he has handled since he came into Parliament 10 years ago. His new responsibilities include foreign affairs, immigration, energy, and police. He is also the attorney-general.

The Cook Islands News reported that the prime minister anticipates reallocating some of these responsibilities at a later date.

The paper quotes the opposition leader, Tina Browne, as saying the appointments suggest the PM lacks confidence in his own MPs.

“The new PM says he’s excited with the potential of his Cabinet and then gives himself a staggering 17 portfolios, which is a huge signal of just how much confidence he has in the potential of his Cabinet colleagues.”

The PM did give a few posts to colleagues, including tourism, even though there have been no tourists since the pandemic began.

Currently, only Cook Islands residents and permit holders are allowed into the country, and they have to undergo two weeks’ quarantine.

There are plans to remove quarantine restrictions for people travelling from New Zealand as soon as next week.

The Cook Islands are 3,000 km north-east of New Zealand. Cook Islanders are New Zealand citizens and carry New Zealand passports.

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