15 Mar 2010

No apologies from Cook Islands Government for slow progress on Aitutaki rebuild

6:44 pm on 15 March 2010

The Cook Islands Finance Minister says he makes no apologies for the speed of reconstruction on cyclone-hit Aitutaki.

The New Zealand government has announced a 3-point-8 million US dollar reconstruction package, in the wake of Cyclone Pat which damaged about 80 percent of houses on Aitutaki and destroyed 72 homes a month ago.

The Finance Minister Wilkie Rasmussen says the money falls short of what they thought was needed for reconstruction, but this could be offset by a proposal from Habitat for Humanity New Zealand, which cabinet will consider this week.

The housing organisation is offering to build kitset homes for 12,000 dollars each, half the amount the government had planned to grant for new homes.

Wilkie Rasmussen says Habitat says it can build the houses by June, but it could take until December depending which plan is adopted

"If we go with Habitat for Humanity, then again taking into account the shipping, the actual construction, I think they can build three houses in several days, so they can move very quickly with that."

Wilkie Rasmussen says the repair of partially damaged homes is underway and should be complete in about six weeks.