RAROTONGA, 28 MAY 2018 (COOK ISLANDS NEWS) — Genuine political reform and not political reform by expedience is the commitment of the Cook Islands Democratic Party to the public for a better, equitable and more cost-effective government, the party says.

In a statement to CINews, the party’s policy committee said they had a number of provisions in their manifesto to support political reform in the Cook Islands.

“Our parliament should be a place of cooperation not a place where jibes and posturing take over from serious debate and questions,” the statement said.

“Our MPs should be elected through a fair voting system that ensures parties get a share of seats in parliament that is equal to their share of the vote.”

“With full respect to the gravity and importance of this matter, the party is willing to give consideration for an Electoral Commission to be formed, its functions and responsibilities similar to that of the New Zealand Electoral Commission, with the ultimate aim of advancing fairer representation in the Cook Islands electoral processes.

The party says that if elected to government in the June 14 election, it will also review the Cook Islands Constitution, the Electoral Act and anti-party hopping legislation.

It will also examine the peoples’ view on party politics versus “no party politics,” by referendum.

It will examine the peoples’ views on any proposed voting system by referendum, the committee said.

The Democratic Party says it will also ensure the “prorogation” of parliament is properly carried out to avoid any potential threats to votes of no confidence in Cabinet and the prime minister. A prorogation is the continuance of the parliament from one session to another.

“We will examine voting systems that more fairly translates people’s votes into parliamentary representation and examine the concept of fixed election dates permitting political stability and fairer preparation for all parties or candidates to elections,” the committee said.

“We will also consult the public throughout the reform process and write into law minimum time frames for public gazette before bills or legislative changes are made in parliament, and avoid the potential for further amendments as a result of a lack of due process.”

The Democratic Party is promising to update access to the Official Information Act to permit greater transparency of government activities……PACNEWS