31 Mar 2016

Cooks to have NZ aid directly into budget

3:05 pm on 31 March 2016
New Zealand money.

New Zealand money. Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

The New Zealand government is to pay its aid to the Cook Islands directly into the country's national budget.

This has been announced by the New Zealand foreign minister, Murray McCully, at a joint ministerial meeting on Aitutaki.

Also signed at the meeting was New Zealand's current aid grant to the Cooks through to 2018 at about US$29 million dollars.

The Cooks finance minister Mark Brown says having the country's biggest development partner putting millions earmarked for national projects directly into the budget is a big deal.

Up to now most of the money has been managed by New Zealand foreign affairs officials and their consultants.

20 years ago New Zealand withdrew direct budgetary support to the Cooks because of the mismanagement of funds earmarked for development projects.

New Zealand's development assistance is being channelled into tourism destination marketing, infrastructure development, ICT submarine cable connectivity, the refurbishment of Tereora College and the ongoing upgrading of septic systems on Rarotonga and Aitutaki.