20 Oct 2010

Democratic Party launches manifesto, vowing public sector cuts

4:11 pm on 20 October 2010

The ruling Cook Islands Democratic Party says it has double-checked the sustainability of its election manifesto which highlights benefit increases to be implemented this year.

The party has launched its manifesto which includes a fortnightly benefit increase of 37 US dollars for pensioners, the destitute and caregivers that was part of this year's budget.

It is also signalling a boost in a one-off payment for new parents, from about 200 US dollars to about 11-hundred US dollars.

The Party President, Sean Willis, says the Cook Islands can afford the increases by cutting excess staff in the public sector, and educating people about healthy lifestyles to reduce health spending.

He says the party checked its figures with government officials before releasing its manifesto

"We look to policies that are achievable, attainable and sustainable, where we can actually afford it. The first thing we need to look at is the welfare of people, the old age pension benefits, the caregivers, the handicapped, and our baby benefit."

The Cook Islands Democratic Party President Sean Willis