29 May 2002

Cooks chamber to make submission on environment bill

3:17 pm on 29 May 2002

The Cook Islands chamber of commerce is adding its voice to concerns that the environment minister has too much power under a controversial Environmental bill.

The chamber's president, Ewan Smith, says as tourism is the number one earner for the country, it's essential for the business community to take an interest in the bill.

Mr Smith says their concerns are centred around the fact that the minister, Norman George, will have too much power to act.

"The powers accorded the Minister in the proposed Act are very wide, and that concerned some people,.... this issue was canvassed quite extensively before, and there is a comment that not much has changed in the new version of this Act,"

so we've got some members who are working on that at the moment, and we will be putting a submission to the select committee.

Traditional leaders, environmental groups and other non-government organisations which are leading the protest over the bill are also concerned that it gives the environment minister the power to overturn decisions by the environment council.