9 Feb 2011

Cook Islands Government wants to make phone company books public

4:54 pm on 9 February 2011

The Cook Islands Minister of Finance, Mark Brown, wants to open the books of Telecom Cook Islands to the public to achieve greater transparency.

The government owns 40 per cent of TCI with the remainder held by Telecom New Zealand.

The company's accounts have never been made public and Mark Brown says there should be transparency in all public operations.

But he also says since TCI is only a minority shareholder existing agreements may prevent full disclosure of company accounts.

Our correspondent in Rarotonga, Florence Syme Buchanan, reports.

"Mr Brown has undertaken to look into this matter as the government advocates a policy shift for all SOEs of maximum service delivery rather than maximum profits. The government intends to reinvest revenues generated by SOEs into delivering better, more efficient services. The Cook Islands government receives an estimated 2.4 million New Zealand dollars in annual dividends from TCI. Mr Brown says If it means government having to divert some those dividends to provide cheaper and faster broadband service then they will do that."