A New Zealand economist is critical of the data the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has used to declare the Cook Islands a developed nation.
Victoria University's Geoff Bertram, an authority on the the economic development of Pacific countries, last year wrote a report evaluating the Cooks' pending graduation to high income status.
He said the OECD's declaration, which kicks in at the end of 2018, was incorrectly based on the country's Gross Domestic Product, instead of factoring in people's incomes and the country's balance of payments.
"It's likely that the actual Gross National Income of the Cook Islands' economy is quite a lot less than its Gross Domestic Product. But we don't know how much less because the national accounts are not comprehensive enough to give us that number."
Dr Bertram said the OECD had given the Cook Islands until the end of next year to provide these figures.