9 Dec 2003

Cook Islands PM to visit NZ

11:32 am on 9 December 2003

The Cook Islands prime minister, Dr Robert Woonton, is due in New Zealand this month to discuss plans to complete the Vaimaanga Hotel on Rarotonga.

The Cook Islands News says the Tepaki Group of Wellington is the front-runner for the project.

But also reports that New Zealand businessman, Mark Lyon, is also vying to complete the hotel.

Lyon, who was last month granted a one-year Cook Islands residency permit by Dr Woonton, is free on bail until February after being convicted in New Zealand last week, on charges of possessing a pistol, four knives and ammunition.

The newspaper reports that Lyon has paid 150-thousand New Zealand dollars in security for the permit should he fall foul of the law during his time in the Cook Islands.