4 Oct 2005

Cook Islands select committee defends Unit Titles Bill against critics

4:33 pm on 4 October 2005

The chairman of a Cook Islands select committee which has shaped the controversial Unit Titles Bill has defended the proposed law, expected to be tabled in parliament this week.

Residents in Rarotonga have started the country's second petition against the Unit Titles Bill, saying the Bill seriously dilutes landowners rights, and is to vague in its reference to protecting the environment.

However Tupou Faireka says his committee undertook an exhaustive consultative process throughout the islands, and the response to the Bill was positive.

"I think so far there has been a misconception and mispropaganda by the critics of the fact that this Unit Title will take away land from the land owners, which is absolutely not true. The public have to understand, this Unit Title, if it's applied in the Cook Islands, its life only exists when the lease is in existence."

Tupou Faireka says during consultations concerns were raised about the height of buildings in potential development, something he says pertains to the Building Code and not the Unit Titles Bill.