28 Sep 2016

Cooks land use rules to be enforced

1:27 pm on 28 September 2016

The Cook Islands Land Court is to tighten up on the application of land occupation conditions, with landowners facing a stricter rule to use it or lose it.

A beach in the Cook Islands

A beach in the Cook Islands Photo: RNZI / Megan Whelan

An automatic lapsing clause, introduced in the early 1980s, is to be applied more rigourously.

The justice secretary Tingika Elikana said failure to comply with the conditions meant the occupation right would lapse automatically.

Under the clause, successful applicants for occupation rights to build residential homes must have started construction within five years of the Land Court approval date and have completed building within seven years.

Landowners are however allowed to apply for an extension of not more than three years.

Stricter application of law is now expected as the demand for land increases.

Our correspondent said this raised questions about numerous sections of vacant land, obtained through an occupation right, for which the building conditions time frame had already lapsed.

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