24 Mar 2009

Cook Islands Aid Management criticises support of NZ role with Chinese loan

8:54 pm on 24 March 2009

The Cook Islands Aid Management's Jim Armistead has criticised the Chamber of Commerce over comments it made in a local newspaper supporting the move by New Zealand to take an advisory role regarding a Chinese Concessional loan which the government has obtained for infrastructure projects.

He says those comments intimate that the Cook Islands government is incapable of dealing with issues that require decisions as an independent country and would be better off going back under colonial rule.

Mr Armistead in a statement from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister also compared points of difference between the two donors New Zealand and China.

He says while New Zealand strengths were in Education, civil society and governance, they were weak in infrastructure delivery.

But he says on the other hand China were willing to lend large sums of money to fund big infrastructure projects,

He says without Chinese assistance the stadium for the upcoming World Youth Netball Championships and the mini games would not be built.

Mr Armistead says they had asked New Zealand for assistance they were told NZAID had a policy of not funding the stadium.

He says each donor brings something different to the table and the Cook Islands government should not be forced into choosing between the two.