30 Dec 2008

Cook Islands Minister says Government must support private sector, calls for leaders to go

2:26 pm on 30 December 2008

The Cook Islands Foreign Minister, Wilkie Rasmussen, says the government is drifting away from supporting the private sector.

Mr Rasmussen has called for the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister to step down, because the Government is not achieving its objectives.

He says after the reform of the public service in the 90's, private businesses became the backbone of the economy.

Mr Rasmussen says as the global financial crisis bites, this sector will need help:

"We have to buffer them against the recession, perhaps we offer them a package of two years at least, instead of entering into large projects where the government is going to spend more money on, lots of money on, but we really don't know what the full extent is of the outcomes of those purchases."

Mr Rasmussen says building infrastructure such as a wharf at Rarotonga is sensible and a necessity.

But he says spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to build a wharf on an outer island with a population of less than a hundred is not a priority.