6 Aug 2010

Cook Islands looks to develop agriculture, pearl farming and tourism

3:22 pm on 6 August 2010

The Cook Islands' agriculture, pearl farming and tourism sectors will benefit the most from the new budget, as the Government aims to grow the economy within the next two years.

The budget was presented this week and the Finance Minister, Wilkie Rasmussen, says the Government is aiming for a surplus while maintaining the same levels of funding in most sectors.

Mr Rasmussen says they want to encourage the southern islands to grow more, and diversify the range of produce grown, while the extra funding for pearl farming and tourism has an international focus.

"Pearl farming is the industry that we wish to invest a bit more into, to assist with the marketing of the Cook Islands brand overseas. We've also put some money into tourism, again it's to assist with the marketing programme, particularly in Sydney."

Mr Rasmussen says no money's been allocated for cost of living adjustments for public servants.