14 Sep 2011

Cook Islands government to spend US$40,000 on China trip

3:05 pm on 14 September 2011

The Cook Islands government will send five delegates on a state visit to China at the end of the week, at a cost of 40,000 US dollars.

The visit takes place every four years in recognition of the relationship between the two countries.

China invites the Cook Islands under the proviso they pay their own airfares - China pays for the rest.

The CEO in the Prime Minister's Office, Edwin Pittman, says it is a responsible way for the government to spend money.

"Residents will find it acceptable if they understand discussions that are going to take place in China are at the highest level. For example, the Prime Minister and his delegation will be discussing some of the previously allocated aid funding of some six or seven-million-dollars. So, we are spending roughly 40 to 50-thousand dollars - the returns are going to be in the millions. I think that is going to be very acceptable."

Edwin Pittman says there was never an issue of affordability for the trip, which will include the Prime Minister, his wife, the Minister of Infrastructure and Planning, the Assistant Minister of Agriculture, and the Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Immigration.