5 Apr 2005

Growing concern in Cook Islands over Unit Titles bill

3:34 pm on 5 April 2005

A Cook Islands landowner says a proposed bill to change the way leasehold land is dealt with could end the traditional landowning system.

Currently, land cannot be sold and can only be leased for up to 60 years.

Mike Henry, who runs the Aretamanu Beach hotel on Aitutaki, says the Unit Titles bill, which has been put forward by a developer, is of great concern because this could lead to other changes.

The bill, which is specific to two pieces of land planned to be developed into resorts, proposes to offer a title to anyone investing in a unit within the hotels.

Mr Henry says he cannot understand why it is specific to one developer.

"It doesn't seem democratic that we should change the law of our country to suit one company or one person. If we're going to change laws, they should be for the benefit of all Cook Islanders. And, in this instance, we are changing the law to benefit one company, one Cook Islander. To me, it's not the correct way we should go about administering the laws of our country."

Mike Henry, a landowner and resort owner of Aretamanu Beach hotel on Aitutaki.