25 Sep 2018

Cook Islands govt focuses budget on children

9:04 am on 25 September 2018

Children are the main focus of the Cook Islands' government's budget for the coming year.

Children perform traditional dances during a visit by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the Avarua markets in Rarotonga, Cook Islands on September 1, 2012.

Cook Islands children perform a traditional dance Photo: AFP

The finance minister Mark Brown will table the budget for the next year in parliament today.

He said it was aimed at establishing a strong developed country for current and future generations.

Among the child focussed initiatives in the new budget Mark Brown says the government plans to increase the qualifying age for child benefits.

Set up remedial programmes to support kids having difficulty in school.

And create several new positions to help implement the Cook Islands' national children's policy and manage its family protection and support services.

Mr Brown said it will also be setting up a new information technology school.

Other priority areas that will see increased funding including in health, agriculture and correctional services.

The budget will be debated in the Cook Islands Parliament from Monday next week.

Cook Islands Finance Minister Mark Brown

Cook Islands finance minister Mark Brown Photo: Cook Islands News

Funds are also being set aside for the creation of a public utilities regulator and the establishment of a diplomatic mission in Fiji.

Mark Brown said the Cook Islands continues to register strong economic growth with strong revenues.

He said government has been proactive in its public spending and responsible in its management of crown debt enabling it to deliver an early fiscal surplus this year.