15 Jun 2016

Cooks Finance Minister confirms audit hold ups

5:04 pm on 15 June 2016

The Cook Islands Finance Minister, Mark Brown, has confirmed the government's consolidated accounts have not been audited for 3 years.

Cook Islands Finance Minister Mark Brown

Cook Islands finance minister Mark Brown Photo: Cook Islands News

He said it was due to a lack of capacity and the government was doing what it could to overcome the backlog, including hiring more staff.

The opposition said the lack of audit results meant the government could not claim to be transparent if its actions were not fully scrutinised.

It claimed the economy was in a slump because of a decline in tax take and that the government was unable to produce audited figures to counter this.

But Mr Brown said that was nonsense.

"All of the financial statements, although they are not audited by the audit departments we produce quarterly financial statements on the state of the government's accounts and books," he explained.

"Our financial statements include an economic outlook; it includes information on tourism numbers that have come in; it includes information on the tax take we have had. And we produce this quarterly and the last year's quarterly report indicate clearly a significant surge in the economy."