6 Apr 2005

Lawyer in Cook Islands says Unit Titles bill offers potential to investors

7:50 pm on 6 April 2005

A lawyer in the Cook Islands, John McFadzien, says great interest is being shown by landowners and law firms over extending the proposed Unit Titles bill, to cover them.

Currently, the bill is specific to two pieces of land on Rarotonga and Aitutaki where two resorts are planned, and it proposes for the first time to offer a title to anyone investing in a unit within the hotels.

The bill is proving controversial because land cannot be sold in the Cook Islands, only leased, and there are concerns that this could alter the traditional landowning system.

But, Mr McFadzien says people can also see the potential to develop properties this way.

"There's been a lot of interest from the law firms on behalf of their clients, asking to have a look at copies of the bill, a lot of the landowners have put in submissions, or are expected to put in submissions to a parliament select committee asking that it be extended to them, and the same point of view has been put across at some public meetings that have been held."

John McFadzien is a lawyer who acts for the Investor's Forum, a joint partner with the Tepaki group for the two planned developments.