22 Dec 2008

Cook Islands government sends fuel farm plan to public consultation

11:26 am on 22 December 2008

The Cook Islands plans to purchase a fuel farm and the tender for its management to the private sector has been put on hold until after public consultations.

This follows a meeting between the Deputy Prime Minister Sir Terepai Maoate, the Ministry of Finance, Public Expenditure Review Committee and Audit to spearhead public consultations early next year on the government's fuel farm initiative.

The idea for the initiative was raised following news that the major oil companies, such as Shell, Mobil and recently BP are exiting the Pacific region and being replaced by local companies.

Sir Terepai says in its place the government will purchase a fuel farm with tenders being called from the private sector, the same system used in Samoa which has the cheapest fuel in the region.

However, he says they must also consider the safety aspects and ensure that the strategic assets have measures in place to minimise any environmental issues.

But Sir Terepai says because public concerns have been raised following a lot of misinformation he would like those concerns cleared up and public consultations is the best way forward.