10 Feb 2014

Cook Islands lawyer hopeful of political agreement to fix super scheme legislation

7:45 am on 10 February 2014

A Cook Islands lawyer says he's hopeful a recent judgment will improve people's control over their life savings.

In a ruling in the High Court last week, Chief Justice Thomas Weston, upheld lawyer Tim Arnold's argument, that the existing Cook Islands National Superannuation Act of 2000, is unconstitutional.

Mr Arnold, acting for several businesses in Rarotonga, says the current Act goes too far in restricting people's enjoyment of their property rights.

He says while the Act was originally written with good intent, the government exercises too much control over the scheme and yet will not guarantee the funds.

He says he's hopeful politicians can work together to amend the Act before a September 2014 deadline, set by the Chief Justice.

We're feeling pretty optimistic that if the government, the opposition and Norman George as the sole Independent Member come together; then it should be possible to deliver, for the people of the Cook Islands, National Superannuation in a form that's significantly better than the flawed model that we have now.

Tim Arnold says he's waiting now to see if the Crown will appeal the case.