6 Feb 2006

Cooks police want assurances on quality of Chinese work for new HQ

11:09 am on 6 February 2006

Police in the Cook Islands say there's been an adequate level of public consultation over a new 2 point 75 million US dollar headquarters in Rarotonga, mostly funded by China.

The government wants Cooks labourers to help build new hotel projects, but China brought in workers to build a Beijing-funded courthouse and will do so again with the police station.

Courthouse fittings are already said to be rusting, marble slabs cracked, and electrical services are said to have failed from the start requiring expensive repairs by local contractors.

But the Cook Islands police commissioner, Pira Wichman, says the contract has already been signed between the Cooks government and the Chinese construction company.

"One of the conditions that we had with our negotiations with the Chinese is that we wanted to make sure that it is a minimum of Cook Islands, which is the same as New Zealand, standards."

Commissioner Wichman says his officers are moving out over the next three weeks to allow the present headquarters to be removed to make way for the new construction.

He says the new headquarters is modelled on three New Zealand stations and will be a base for the next 50 years.