7 Dec 2005

Cook Islands likely to regulate property further, says lawyer

4:45 pm on 7 December 2005

A property lawyer in the Cook Islands says the state is moving to increase regulation for foreign investors.

The Development Investment Board has been asked to consider a proposal to allow only native Cook Islanders to buy portions of tourist accommodation, under the recently-enacted Unit Titles law.

The legislation aims to make it easier to get the Vaimaanga hotel up and running on Rarotonga.

The lawyer acting for the Vaimaanga developer, Tim Arnold, says the proposal isn't intended to slow down the project.

But Mr Arnold says it's indicative of a trend of increasing regulation aimed at protecting land in the Cooks.

"and I say that because the Development Investment Board is currently undertaking a thorough review of investment criteria, and there's every indication that that's going to become a little harder for people."

Tim Arnold says proposals to bring native Cook Islanders into any investment partnerships are aimed at encouraging the 90 per cent of Cook Islanders who live overseas to come home.