3 Apr 2007

Large gap over assistance for Cook Islands infrastructure needs

7:19 pm on 3 April 2007

The Cook Islands government will be looking at options to cover the gap between the assistance promised for infrastructure development and what's actually needed.

The deputy prime minister, Dr Terepai Maoate, is anticipating they will need between 15 to 30 million U.S. dollars more than the aid that will be forthcoming from New Zealand and Australia over the next three years.

He says New Zealand has earmarked 24.5 million U.S. dollars for aid over that period and just over 7 million of it will be allocated for the cyclone recovery programme which includes harbours and airports.

But, Dr Maoate says much more is required.

"What I'm concerned about is the infrastructure development in the outer islands such as harbours, airports, water, electricity, telecommunications - these are the main areas out there that needs our efforts to do that and see what we can borrow too. And, if there's any grants from our donor partners we're certainly going to appreciate that."

Dr Maoate says they may have to borrow some of the money but they will go back to New Zealand to see if further assistance might be forthcoming.