15 Sep 2003

Progress in Cook Islands Vaimaanga hotel project

4:03 pm on 15 September 2003

A Cook Islands paramount chief, Pa Ariki, says an agreement over the much delayed Vaimaanga Hotel project could be finalised within days.

Landowners, the government and the New Zealand-based developer Tim Tepaki, have reached an agreement in principle for the 17 million US dollar project.

Pa Ariki, speaking on behalf of landowners, says once the final agreement is reached the project will be an incentive for overseas-based Cook Islanders to return as there will be many job opportunities.

She says the past week has been pleasing and the project may finally be able to move.

"I'm very, very pleased, while there's no agreement has been signed, we're moving forward rather than backwards, so after several meetings this week, between the government, the developer and myself we have come to some agreement in principle, what they need to do is Tepaki with his lawyers need to tidy up some minor paper-work."

Pa Ariki says the Tepaki Group's financial record and their Cook Island links made their proposal attractive.