7 Feb 2011

Cook Islands government will no longer demand dividends from state businesses

7:36 pm on 7 February 2011

The Cook Islands government is to shift the focus of state owned enterprises from making money to providing improved services, which it believes will help the economy.

The finance minister, Mark Brown, says getting SOEs to be more efficient will allow clients to be more productive and create growth in the economy.

He says the government's gains will be from the greater economic activity that'll be generated rather than through dividend payments from the SOEs

The prime minister, Henry Puna, says the focus is on maximising efficiency, and that maximising revenue is no longer a priority.

Both men says that the policy change is part of a election commitment and also follows recent concerns raised in caucus at the exorbitant costs charged by government to provide utilities to new areas.

Currently the owners of homes being constructed in new locations are charged tens of thousands of dollars to have the power and water lines extended to their properties.