11 Jul 2009

Backing promised for Air NZ flights to Cook Islands

12:08 pm on 11 July 2009

New Zealand is to financially back Air New Zealand flights to the Cook Islands, which are crucial to the tourism industry there.

Prime Minister John Key says New Zealand will support a decision by the the Cook Islands government to underwrite any loss on the airline's Los Angeles-Rarotonga-Auckland route.

Radio New Zealand International reports contributions will be capped at $US600,000 ($NZ1 million) this financial year.

Mr Key says that's consistent with the position New Zealand has already taken with flights to Samoa and Tonga

He says the link from Rarotonga to LA is very critical and it makes sense from a New Zealand perspective to help the Cook Islands to maintain its links with the outside world and develop its tourism sector.