28 Apr 2011

Foreigners accused of robbing Cook islands realtors of business

4:07 pm on 28 April 2011

A Cook Islands real estate agent says foreign realtors are cutting local companies out of the lucrative hotel market.

A local communication company's asked the Cook Islands Business Trade and Investment Board to prosecute a number of companies it says the Board's confirmed are operating illegally.

Rarotonga Realty's John McElhinney says there are two hotels for sale at the moment but he's precluded from access to selling them.

He says his business had to be approved and registered to operate in the Cook Islands.

"These guys can hop in a plane in New Zealand or Australia or wherever it may be and just come here and do business over, stay here for two or three days, advertise in the paper and take off. Well, if they happen to sell these properties, the money leaves with them."

John McElhinney says he doesn't mind competition but he'd like to have equal access to the market.