10 Mar 2005

Cooks budget expected by end of week

4:27 pm on 10 March 2005

The Finance Secretary in the Cook Islands says he expects the new government's first budget to be passed by the end of the week.

Kevin Carr says the 71.8 million US dollar budget is currently being debated in parliament.

Mr Carr says because of recent events, the budget had to be changed at the last minute.

"Originally, it was intended to be the new government starting to implement its policies but unfortunately we had four cyclones in a row and the emphasis changed then to action taken for the cyclone recovery and reconstruction."

Kevin Carr says nearly 900,000 dollars has been earmarked for cyclone recovery, although there are expectations that more could follow because assessments are incomplete.

He says another recent change included an appropriation of 35-thousand dollars to address the shortage of beds in the main hospital.