22 Aug 2011

Cook Islands Financial Secretary downplays budget blowout

7:07 am on 22 August 2011

The financial secretary of the Cook Islands Ministry of Finance has played down the government's 246-thousand-US-dollar budget blowout.

Richard Neve says of the government ministries and departments which exceeded their budgets in the last financial year, the Cook Islands audit office was the worst offender, going into the red by 85-thousand-US-dollars.

He also listed overspending by eight other ministries or departments.

"It is concerning to have a 300-thousand-dollar increase in expenditure but that has to be put in context of a budget around 150-million-dollars. In that context proportionally it's not that big an amount and once we get the information back we'll have a look and act on that. And as I say if it is a systemic administrative issue that we need to fix up we will always endeavour to do that, if its something that someone has done illegally then they'll face the letter of the law."

Mr Neves says it is now up to the Public Expenditure Review Committee to review the cases of over-expenditure and come up with recommendations for government.