28 Jan 2015

Cuts to Aitutaki shipping services surprises PM

8:25 pm on 28 January 2015

The Cook Islands' Prime Minister says the decision to cut shipping services to Aitutaki has come as a complete surprise.

The Cook Islands News says the service, operated by Pacific Direct Line in partnership with local company Uma Shipping, has been dropped and will be replaced by a new arrangement with Matson South Pacific Ltd.

However, instead of being serviced twice a month, there will only be one voyage to Aitutaki.

Henry Puna says the news was totally unexpected, as statistics showed that tonnage to Aitutaki had increased

He says he suspects there is more to the issue than meets the eye and has called a meeting of all shipping companies that service the Cook Islands in Auckland next Monday.

Pacific Direct Line declined to comment, but a spokesperson for Uma Shipping said the decision to cut the service was a business decision.