The New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English has made his first funding announcements on his three-nation Polynesia tour, committing just under $US11 million towards a submarine cable between Samoa and French Polynesia.
Speaking in Rarotonga at a press conference with Cook Island prime minister, Henry Puna, Mr English said once completed, the cable would offer a faster and cheaper link between Rarotonga and Aitutaki, which are the country's two main tourist destinations.
He said he had also signed an $US6.3 million funding agreement with the Cook Islands for a new reticulated wastewater system for Muri and Avana.
This follows long-standing commitments with China to improve the water system on Rarotonga with their Te Mato Vai project.
Mr English said the infrastructure needs to be robust to ensure that the impact on local services and the environment was sustainable.
Tourism has been booming, and the Cook Islands annual tourists arrivals exceed 140,000.
Mr English says the infrastructure needs to be robust to ensure that the impact on local services and the environment is sustainable.
"So these announcements demonstrate our long term commitment to the stability and prosperity of the Cook Islands and its further economic development," said Mr English.
"But I must say it is easy to make these commitments when we are working with government that is effective, that can implement the commitments that it makes."
Bill English made the announcements as part of his 2017 Pacific Mission which will take him to Niue and Tonga.
Cook Islands prime minister explains why oceans need legal status.
Henry Puna had to explain to journalists at the press conference why he had pushed for the oceans to have the same legal rights as humans.
Mr Puna made the call during last week's Ocean's Conference in New York.
He said he was proud of the way the Cooks, through its Marae Moana marine reserve, one of the largest in the world, was doing its bit to protect the oceans, and says many nations need to do much more.
Mr Puna said he saw giving the ocean legal status as an innovative way of making the point about ocean pollution.
"It became clear that maybe by floating this idea of giving the ocean legal personality so that they can have rights is maybe one way of drawing the attention of the whole world to the need, very urgent need now, for us to protect the oceans and conserve the oceans and not use it as a dumping ground."