21 May 2014

Cook Islands govt says pearl programme transparent

7:44 pm on 21 May 2014

The Cook Islands Financial Secretary, Richard Neves, says allegations of large payments to the Prime Minister and comments from the Taxpayers Union are outlandish and ignorant.

He says the Cook Islands is a leader in transparency across the Pacific.

Cook Islands

Cook Islands Photo: RNZ

Mr Neves says the Manihiki Pearl Farmers Association and the Ministry of Marine Resources work out what each farmer needs and the Finance Ministry buys the materials and then finalises who gets what.

"I'm acutely aware as are many others that the Prime Minister is a pearl farmer and that there is obviously some optics around this. And that's why we're going well and beyond what is normally required in terms of a procurement process, in terms of publishing the outcomes."

Richard Neves says the final list of equipment has not yet been allocated and received by farmers and once that's complete, spending will be published on the government website.