3 Feb 2011

Cooks NZ Aid fund shelved

8:33 am on 3 February 2011

A 1-point-1 million US dollar New Zealand Aid development fund intended for low interest rate on-lending to small to medium enterprises in the Cook Islands has been shelved.

The move comes six months after the New Zealand government approved it, but it was never used.

The National Sustainable Development Committee had been working on changing the fund's criteria to have it focus instead on developing exports and changing its name to the Export Growth Fund.

Flo Syme Buchanan reports.

"Official Cook Islands sources says the Committee's concerns were that because the fund wasn't focused on one sector, such as exports which needs boosting, it would most likely be swallowed up assisting the tourism industry, rather than being shared across the commercial sector. The future of the fund now depends on the outcome of discussions between the New Zealand and Cook Islands governments at ministerial level - when this is likely to happen hasn't been confirmed."