18 May 2012

Cook Islands departure tax to be included in airfare

6:21 pm on 18 May 2012

The Cook Islands government is introducing new laws that will force airlines to include departure tax in ticket prices from December.

The minister of finance and economic development, Mark Brown, says cabinet approved the decision at a special meeting.

He describes it as an important progression for the Cook Islands, which has long-sought to have the departure tax included in airline tickets.

Mr Brown says cabinet has also decided to increase the cost of departure tax by $10 to $65 from next July and thereafter index it to a yearly 2 percent increase.

The laws will be presented to parliament at its next sitting, expected to be in June.

The Democratic Party leader, Wilkie Rasmussen, says the opposition will fight the increase on the grounds that it's a scandalous and poorly thought-out way of generating revenue.