17 Oct 2006

Cook Islanders ponder privatising government agencies

7:11 pm on 17 October 2006

People in the Cook Islands have begun debating the merits of the privatisation of some state owned government operations during meetings with consultants from the Asian Development Bank.

The Cook Islands Herald says some Chamber of Commerce members have suggested that the country's main port, Avatiu Harbour, the power and water supply, the ministry of works and waste management, to be privatised.

As well, they say telecommunications should be opened up to competition and the Telecom Cook Islands monopoly ended.

The president of the Chamber, Teresa Manarangi Trott, says, in her personal view, before any sell off all consumers would need to get together and consider several key issues.

"Is the private sector going to do it more efficiently. Does that mean that the cost of actually producing or delivering that service is going to be better from a private sector point of view, and does the government have the capacity to monitor what needs to be done in terms of ensuring that if it is going to be a monopoly, that it is done in the interests of the consumer."