15 February 2021
“Over the weekend Speaker Niki Rattle advised me of her resignation.
Some time ago Mrs Rattle indicated that she would not be seeking reappointment beyond this current term. Resigning from a role such as this one takes courage and I concur with her statement “that in a healthy democracy, office holders will be refreshed from time to time”.
For the last 9 years Mrs Rattle has served as Speaker of the Cook Islands Parliament with integrity and intelligence. I would rate her to be one of our best speakers, certainly in my time in Parliament.
If you think the role of Speaker is confined to time in the debating chamber maintaining order during question time and debates, you would be wrong. During Speaker Rattle’s tenure two long overdue projects were initiated and are on track for completion in the not-too-distant future.
A review of the Standing Orders and a consolidation of the Laws of the Cook Islands are two pieces of work that once complete will serve our Parliament and Parliamentarians well into the future.
Mrs Rattle’s advocacy for more women and young people to seek a career in Parliament; the Speaker’s Debates on Poverty and Mental Health; her engagement around International Women’s Day and the launch of the Women’s Parliamentarians Caucus on that day in 2018 which coincided with the visit of Prime Minister Ardern are events that will be associated with her legacy.
As Speaker, Mrs Rattle was a trailblazer for the Cook Islands. At the 2019 Commonwealth Parliamentarian Association Conference in Kampala, Mrs Rattle was elected Chairman of the Network by the Small Branches. She has fulfilled this role and many other similar ones with countless virtual meetings since the pandemic was declared almost a year ago.
Under Speaker Rattle’s watch too, Cook Islanders world-wide have been able to tune into Parliamentary sittings via live stream for the first time.
On behalf of all the Members of Parliament and the people of the Cook Islands I thank Mrs Rattle for her service to her country.
The now former Speaker and I became grandparents last year – she for the third time, me for the first. I think I know where most of her newly found time is going to be spent and I am very happy for her and send her every best wish”.
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