20 Aug 2020

Cook Islands DPM says free water for Rarotonga residents, unless excessive use

1:48 pm on 20 August 2020

The Deputy Prime Minister in the Cook Islands is assuring residents on Rarotonga they will not be charged unless their water use is excessive.

No caption.

Photo: 123RF

The issue of charges is one of a number of concerns as the government moves to establish the To Tatou Vai Authority, which will oversee the new, multi-million dollar water supply system.

The group Te Vai Ora Maori said under the current proposals, households could face charges of up to $NZ1000 a year.

But Brown confirmed, that after Select Committee consultations over the To Tatou Vai legislation, the water charge schedule would change and typical household use should stay free.

"What we will do is make sure the allocation we are looking at for water will be sufficient for households to use without being charged for their water - that's the aim here.

"But again until we have the system up and running and the meters in place, and I would expect two to three years before we have the data available to make an informed decision on what charges will be."

Cook Islands Finance Minister Mark Brown

Cook Islands finance minister Mark Brown Photo: Cook Islands News

Brown also said, that following the select committee consultations, changes would also be made ensure people could opt out, and also to include some landowners who had previously been excluded.

He said the MPs had also agreed that Aitutaki, which was to have a similar reticulation scheme, would not be included within the current legislation.

Brown said it was felt Aitutaki needed to be covered by separate legislation.