21 May 2014

Call for better aid oversight in Cook Islands

2:17 pm on 21 May 2014

The New Zealand Taxpayers' Union says there has to be better oversight of NZ Aid money as a result of allegations the Cook Islands Prime Minister received a large grant through a pearl farming programme.

Jordan Williams says aid money needs to be targetted to people who need it and New Zealand taxpayers shouldn't be forking out aid funds for a new boat and outboard motor to senior politicians.

It's alleged Henry Puna recieived 100 thousand US dollars worth of equipment and loan funding from the New Zealand government for his pearl farm in Manihiki.

He says New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully needs to reveal if he knew Henry Puna would be the largest recipient of the allocated project funds.

"If everything was above board this conflict would have been acknowledged and it would have been handled properly. Instead the Cook Islands government has reacted to the story just with secrecy. There are plenty of questions to be answered both by the Cook Islands Prime Minister and indeed by our own Minister of Foreign Affairs."

The New Zealand Taxpayers' Union's Jordan Williams