6 Apr 2005

Concerns voiced in Cook Islands over lack of consultation over unit bill

10:17 am on 6 April 2005

There's concern being voiced in the Cook Islands that a controversial bill connected to the land ownership and leasing system, is being rushed.

The president of the National Council of Women, Niki Rattle, says submissions to a parliamentary select committee considering the Unit Titles bill, were to have closed at the end of March but this has now been extended until the end of this month.

The bill, which is specific to two pieces of land planned to be developed into resorts, proposes to offer to anyone investing in a unit within the hotels, a title to that unit.

Currently, land cannot be sold in the Cook Islands.

Ms Rattle says she doesn't know if this extension is sufficient because the bill is only now being translated into Maori and few people have been consulted.

"It's probably not enough time because it's such a very, very important issue that people should understand more about it. We just don't know why it's being rushed so quickly."

Niki Rattle says elderly people who own land need to understand what the implications of the bill are.