7 Nov 2002

Cook Islands mayor says help for water system is insufficient

12:19 pm on 7 November 2002

The mayor of the southern island of Atiu in the Cook Islands says few people will be able to take up an offer of government help over critical water supplies.

Aneru Tautu says he's been told that government workers will be provided to help build water tanks for homeowners who can buy them but he says only 15 people out of the 600 living there, can afford to do so.

The mayor says he still can't understand why the government plans to spend 200,000 U.S. dollars on a civic centre for Atiu but has allocated only three thousand dollars for a water project.

Mr Tautu says the local council put in a budget proposal which highlighted upgrading the water system as a priority but it was ignored.

"I was actually working on the understanding that we had an input in setting up our own budget. When I say we I mean the local government of Atiu and even any other outer islands. But it appears that this is not correct because the budget is set by the members of parliament and also the government of the day and they determine the direction."