27 Nov 2003

Cook Islands director of environment defends new Environment Act

5:15 pm on 27 November 2003

The Cook Islands Director of Environment, Vaitoti Tupa, says the Island Authorities to be set up under the new Environment Act will help outer islands manage their own environments.

Mr Tupa's call comes in response to criticism of the Act from the Atiu Island Council.

The Council is likely to request amendments to the new Act, which requires the establishment of an island authority to create the by-laws on their respective islands.

The mayor of Atiu, Aneru Tautu, says the island council already exists to serve that role and to create a separate authority would be a political football.

But Mr Tupa says for the benefit of each island, MPs, the mayor, the island council and NGOs will all be included in the Authority...

"Under the new Environment Act they are part of these environment Island Authorities, and they have also a voting right in making decisions on each island. So I don't see the new Act or any changes to the new... or amendments as the Mayor of Atiu... I don't see any problems with what we have already put in place."

Director of Environment, Vaitoti Tupa