15 Mar 2005

Cyclone relief focus of budget supplement in Cook Islands

11:21 am on 15 March 2005

Cyclone relief is the focus of a budget supplement in parliament in the Cook Islands.

There has been some criticism of it as it also includes extra spending on members of parliament themselves.

Jason Brown reports.

"An extra 2.6 million New Zealand dollars in spending is being tabled for approval in parliament this week. This comes on top of the existing 93.8 million. Government has promoted the extra spending due to cyclone relief but less than a million is actually going on cyclone damage. Other increases include 185,000 dollars for MPs allowances under the civil list. Justice Minister, Tupou Faireka, gets 45,000 for a new car and office furniture. Another 100,000 is going on a Social Responsibility Fund, operated by the office of the prime minister. Opposition leader, Dr Terepai Maoate, says the spending was shameful when there was no allocation for Pukapuka, the island hardest hit by cyclones. Meanwhile, the Audit office has criticised supplementary budgets as a way of legalising overspending."