The Cook Islands deputy prime minister, Sir Terepai Maoate, has labelled as uninformed comments by a visiting New Zealand mayor about the state of the Takitumu lagoon in Rarotonga.
The mayor, Bob Harvey, who was part of the New Zealand prime minister's entourage during a visit this month, said government officials were failing to give attention to the environment.
But Sir Terepai says the government had been aware of the issues and had sought assistance to upgrade its infrastructure.
But he says NZAid funding has been dripfed and that past experience has proven it does not work for the Cook Islands
Sir Terepai says further requests put to New Zealand went unanswered and as a result, the government successfully turned to China for assistance.