Prime minister Henry Puna has announced his new cabinet team, with finance minister Mark Brown named deputy prime minister, and significant portfolios for independent MPs Rose Toki-Brown and Robert Tapaitau and One Cook Islands MP George Maggie.
Rose Brown has been given the portfolios of Health, Justice, Parliamentary Services and Agriculture, while Penrhyn MP Robert Tapaitau will be in charge of Infrastructure Cook Islands, National Environment Services, Transport and Outer Islands Special Projects.
Former Arorangi Prison inmate George Maggie has been assigned the new ministerial portfolio of Corrective Services, which incorporates Probation and Prisons, as well as Culture, Business Trade and Investment Board and the House of Ariki.
RAPPA MP Albert Nicholas completes the six-member cabinet team, taking on the job of Minister of Police in addition to his Internal Affairs, Youth and Sports, Ombudsman and Punanga Nui portfolios.
New DPM Mark Brown also retains his existing portfolios of Finance and Economic Management, Seabed Minerals and Natural Resources, Cook Islands Investment Corporation, Financial Intelligence and Supervisory Unit, Financial Services Development Authority, Telecommunications, Audit and Public Expenditure Review Committee, Head of State, Cook Islands Pearl Authority and Cook Islands National Superannuation.
Prime minister Puna will be the Attorney General and have the responsibilities of the Office of the Prime Minister, Energy and Renewable Energy, Outer Islands, Foreign Affairs and Immigration, Public Service Commission, Tourism, Education and Marine Resources.
Composed of new and existing ministers, the cabinet team has both “experience and energy”, a statement from the Office of the Prime Minister said.
“The allocation of portfolios takes into consideration the individual skills and talents that each of the ministers can bring to the team, and the ability to collectively work for the good of the country,” the statement said.
“Also important is the representation of Rarotonga and the southern and northern islands in the cabinet team, as well as having a woman minister Hon Rose Toki-Brown.”
Commenting on the makeup of his new cabinet, prime minister Henry Puna said he is “confident that we are the right team”.
“We are ready to work together and serve our people in building a country that is confident in its economic future and secure in its sense of identity, which will only be realised with the support of the rest of our people.”