20 Oct 2010

If re-elected, Cooks Democratic Party signals public service cuts

2:37 pm on 20 October 2010

The Cook Islands Democratic Party is signalling that job cuts in the public service will help to pay for increases in benefits if its returned to power in next month's election.

The party has launched its manifesto today, which highlights a fortnightly benefit increase of 37 US dollars for pensioners, the destitute and caregivers, and a 900 dollar payment boost to new parents.

It says educating people to eat a healthy traditional diet should lead to savings in the health budget.

But its president, Sean Willis, says some government ministries are overstaffed, and they've asked them to see where they could trim staff to improve output.

"So there will be some job losses in government work, but we're trying then to push this so they go back into the agricultural sector or to the private sector to work."

Sean Willis says there is a labour shortage in the Cook Islands and they hope to re-employ government workers in other industries ahead of foreign workers.

He says he can't say how many jobs could be lost or from which departments they would go.