Nikki Rattle re-selected as Speaker of Parliament of Cook Islands

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13th October, 2014

Deputy Clerk Helen Maunga, Prime Minister Henry Puna, Speaker Niki Rattle, and Clerk John Tangi, after Rattle’s re-appointment. (Photo: Cook Island News)

Parliamentary Speaker Niki Rattle was chosen on Wednesday October 8th 2014 to return for another term as Speaker of the House, but not before some controversy.

Rattle was in the process of being nominated by Prime Minister Henry Puna during the inaugural sitting of the 48thsession of Parliament, when Murienua Member of Parliament James Beer of the Democratic Party raised a point of order, questioning whether Puna had the confidence of the 23 MP’s present in the House.
Clerk John Tangi, acknowledging Beer, said the constitution permitted Puna to proceed to make the nomination, which was seconded by Takuvaine MP and Minister of Finance Mark Brown.
At that point, Aitutaki MP Teina Bishop – leading One Cook Islands in its Parliamentary debut – stood up and said he had no objection to the motion, but wanted “to clarify some points”.
He said the nation’s constitution allows a Member who commands “… or is likely to command…” the majority of MP’s in the House, an opportunity to nominate the Speaker – a role Puna’s office said is reserved strictly for the PM earlier this week.
Bishop then asked for Rattle’s nomination to be put to a secret ballot, before presenting a brown folder that he said could potentially prove that he “… may be one of the members who commands the majority of members in the House.”
The contents of the brown folder were not revealed by Bishop.
Tangi said he was aware of the “legal references” mentioned by Bishop, however based on his satisfaction with legal advice obtained from Crown Law, he allowed the nomination to proceed, asking the House not to “complicate things”.
Rattle was then ushered to her seat at the head of the Parliamentary chamber, thanked Puna and Brown for making the nomination, and said she hoped the House could “iron out” any issues with her appointment.
Rattle was then taken to Government House in Titikaveka, where she took the Oath of Allegiance before Queen’s Representative Tom Marsters.

[Source: Cook Island News]

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