cooks | second land petition started

NEWS Residents in capital of the Cook Islands have started the country's second petition against a controversial new land law, the Unit Titles Bill. Petitioner Anna Rassmussen says they are aiming for more than 2,000 signatures from an estimated 4,000 voting age residents on Rarotonga. She says they do not have much time to raise the petition ahead of the bill being presented in parliament next week. Recently returned from New Zealand, Rassmussen says she was waiting for someone else to start the movement against the bill. She says she felt she had a green light to go ahead after residents in Aitutaki, 110 kilometres to the north of the capital, started the first petition. Ms Rassmussen says the bill is far too vague for something as important as land reform. Critics say the Unit Titles Bill seriously dilutes landowners rights under the leasehold only system in force in the Cook Islands since missionary times.