21 Dec 2010

NZ foreign minister satisfied with Aitutaki reconstruction

4:10 pm on 21 December 2010

New Zealand's foreign minister says he's happy with the speed of the cyclone recovery on the island of Aitutaki in the Cook Islands.

Murray McCully has visited the island which was hit by Cyclone Pat in February, as part of his trip to meet the new Cook Islands government.

There has been criticism of the speed of the recovery effort on Aitutaki and Mr McCully says he shared those concerns.

But he says he's now satisfied almost all the repair work has been done and the focus is on people who need new housing.

"I was asking some searching questions about whether we could do more more quickly, whether we could get some more people over there, what sort of skills sets would be useful. But at the end of the day you have to have some confidence in the people who are appropriately qualified and leading the recovery work there. I met with them fairly extensively, I'm satisfied they've made pretty good judgements along the way."

Murray McCully says the New Zealand government committed 4.7 million US dollars to the recovery and he was anxious to see progress had been made ahead of the new cyclone season.