12 Jun 2006

New Zealand foreign minister notes Cooks concerns

3:33 pm on 12 June 2006

The New Zealand Foreign Minister Winston Peters says the government will take up the concerns Cooks Islands business people have with the practices of Air New Zealand and Telecom.

Telecom is the majority share holder in Cook Islands Telecom while Air New Zealand provides most of the Cook Islands international air links.

In a speech to a delegations of New Zealand parliamentarians and business people, the president of the Cook Islands Chamber of Commerce, Teresa Manarangi-Trott, said Telecom exploits its near monopoly situation by charging excessively and being too slow to upgrade services such as ICT especially to the outer islands.

Mr Peters says his delegation got the point.

"We will clearly take that message with respect to their interests here and what is an alleged highly overpricing regime back to New Zealand."

Ms Manarangi-Trott also said that Air New Zealand handicapped local businesses by no longer flying in aircraft with a freight capacity and by ending direct flights from the US West Coast.