29 Jul 2015

Cook Islands official defends car purchase

3:22 pm on 29 July 2015

The man organising the 50th anniversary celebrations in the Cook Islands says the spending of hundreds of thousands on VIP cars for the event is a good thing.

20 vehicles, costing nearly $US400 thousand dollars, have been bought to transport visiting officials from Australia, New Zealand and other Pacific nations during next week's events.

The chair of the 50th celebrations committee, Nick Henry, says the visiting VIPs deserved some class.

One Cook Islands Member of Parliament for Tupapa George Maggie

One Cook Islands MP Tupapa George Maggie protests against the government spending $600,000 on vehicles for Te Maeva Nui. Photo: Cook Islands News/RNZI

He says it is 'really important' that when the government is hosting officials at this level, that it also demonstrates at that level.

Mr Henry says the government has also booked 16 rental cars and a few buses to move officials around.

He says there has been flak about buying cars and not building schools, but he says that will all be resolved soon.

The cars are to be sold to private buyers on the basis that buyers sign a contract to make the vehicles available to the government during the 50th celebrations, and another conference in October.