3 Jul 2014

Hopes development will curb Cooks population loss

5:03 pm on 3 July 2014

The Cook Islands Party's Mark Brown says improved infrastructure in the outer islands will help stop the population drain.

The Cook Islands go to the polls next week and continuing de-population has been raised as a key concern for people.

Mark Brown, who is the caretaker finance minister, agrees there is a significant loss of people from the outer islands but not on Rarotonga where he says the population has been relatively stable since 1996.

He says to counter the loss of people a Cook Islands Party government would continue its efforts to foster economic activity in the outer islands.

"So things like pearl farming in the island of Manihiki where we need a bit of support to get that going again. Investment in our airports and ports to ensure that shipping and air services are more reliable and more regular and also cheaper. These are all the things that the government has to do in order to provide an environment for economic activity to take place in the outer islands.''

Mark Brown in the Cook Islands.

He says this would require input from the country's development partners.