Millions of dollars of New Zealand aid money to the Pacific has been spent on underwriting Air New Zealand flights to the islands.
For the past two financial years, the Cook Islands has spent half the $3 million of New Zealand aid money it receives for tourism annually on its underwrite arrangement with Air New Zealand.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade says a total of $3.8 million in aid money went towards the Samoan and Tongan Governments providing a temporary underwrite to the airline between 2009 and 2011.
Niue has had a similar arrangement with Air New Zealand since 2005 but for the first time this year it has not had to use it.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade says the spending is part of supporting tourism and sustainable economic development in the Pacific.