24 Feb 2017

Cook Islands businesses welcome McCully's Muri support

6:06 pm on 24 February 2017

Businesses in the Cook Islands have welcomed the New Zealand foreign minister Murray McCully's recognition of the importance of protecting Muri Lagoon in Rarotonga.

Dark patches of algae spreading in Muri lagoon.

Dark patches of algae spreading in Muri lagoon. Photo: RNZI/Varo Media

Mr McCully told local media safeguarding the long term health of the lagoon was the most important initiative in which New Zealand could support the Cook Islands.

Poor sewerage and sanitation as well as added pressure from a surge in tourist numbers are blamed for the spread of green algae across the floor of the lagoon.

The algae is spreading around the island.

The president the Cook Islands Chamber of Commerce Steve Lyon said it has not only impacted on local businesses but also residents and marine life.

Mr Lyon said an initiative to address the issue by upgrading residential septic systems on the island had been completed but its effectiveness was disputed.

Mr Lyon said he hopes Mr McCully's pledge to seek further financial assistance for the Cook Islands Government's plan to design and install a reticulation system will bring positive results.

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Photo: Mei Heron

"This is something that has been a key priority of the Chamber of Commerce and the business community for many years. So Minister McCully saying that he is looking to lock in funding to support reticulation also acknowledges that possibly in the past we haven't had the best direction."

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