11 Feb 2011

Cook Islands Finance Minister denies budget overspend

6:47 am on 11 February 2011

The Cook Islands Minister of Finance is denying earlier reports that parliament has overspent its budget.

Prime Minister Henry Puna announced on Friday the blowout's due to a record payout to the 11 MPs who lost their seats in the November general elections.

The constitution entitles them to three months salary.

The Finance Mininster Mark Brown admits Parliament under-estimated the amount of money needed to compensate the departing MPs but he insists it has not overspent its budget.

"It's mainly a matter of reappropriation, a re-adjustment of the existing budget that we have now. We're not looking at additional funds being added into the overall budget. It's a re-allocation if you like, along our ministries. We have a number of ministries that are actually underspending, so it's a matter of re-allocating resources."

Mark Brown says the Government is also looking ahead to ensure it is not left out of pocket within the coming months, by earmarking extra funding from its forthcoming supplementary budget.