24 Jun 2020

Questions over NZ involvement in Cooks water system

9:14 am on 24 June 2020

A Cook Islands group that feels its views on Rarotonga's new water system are being ignored by the government, is planning to raise its concerns with New Zealand.

Te Mato Vai piping

Te Mato Vai piping Photo: Courtesy of Cook Islands Infrastructure

Te Vai Ora Maori had its petition calling on the government to look again at aspects of the Te Mato Vai system, dumped by parliament.

Spokesperson Andy Kirkwood said New Zealand was a major funder of the multi million dollar project, and part of that agreement was contingent on a notion of having shared value.

But Mr Kirkwood said the blunt dismissal of their petition by parliament showed there was a divide between the ideal and the reality on this issue.

"And that the New Zealand Government may have concerns that a project that they are so closely aligned with is now the subject of concern by the population on the island and those concerns are not being addressed by the Government."

Te Vai Ora Maori said it would be approaching the New Zealand High Commissioner with its concerns.

The petition was signed by 1433 people or approximately 20 percent of voters.

The petition's prayer reads:

1/Wherefore your petitioners pray that the Cook Islands Government and its associated agencies responsible for the water supply cease immediately any action to use any chemicals to treat the water supply of Rarotonga.

2/Undertake genuine meaning analysis, consultation, evaluation and decision making processes that will result in sustainable and locally relevant water supply system for Rarotonga.

3/ Ensure that the domestic supply of water remains free for the people of Rarotonga.

Contractors work on the Te Mato Vai water project in Rarotonga, Cook Islands

Contractors work on the Te Mato Vai water project in Rarotonga, Cook Islands Photo: Phillipa Webb / Cook Islands News