24 Apr 2003

Cooks police wages not affected by budget cut

3:48 pm on 24 April 2003

The Cook Islands Minister of Police has assured officers, angry over government plans to slash 10 percent of the police budget, that their wages will not be affected.

Tangata Vavia says the cutbacks will affect operational and administrative costs but not personnel.

Earlier, the government asked all departments to cut their operational costs by 10 percent.

In a letter to Mr Vavia, the Police Association said the cuts would reduce wages by 5 percent and that officers would resign over the matter.

The Association said that police have had not had any pay increases since the Cooks' public sector reforms in the 1990s.

It wrote that the government should slash the MPs Civil List of 2.3 million dollars instead.

But Mr Vavia says the cuts in the police budget are selective.

"The cuts will be taken from other areas other than personnel.... that was my specific instruction to the commissioner when we discussed the police budget....that the cuts will take place in other areas other than personnel costs"

Tangata Vavia in Cook Islands.