1 Jun 2009

Cook Islands asks NZ to underwrite flights

7:06 am on 1 June 2009

The Cook Islands government wants New Zealand to help maintain flights by Air New Zealand between Rarotonga and Los Angeles.

Tourism minister Wilkie Rasmussen says it's only fair given that the Government has already done the same for services from Samoa and Tonga.

Radio New Zealand International reports Mr Rasmussen has confirmed that a written request for the underwriting of flights was sent to the New Zealand Government more than a week ago.

NZ Prime Minister John Key announced in March that it was important to help Pacific Island countries such as Samoa and Tonga by underwriting Air New Zealand services, in the face of their possible discontinuation.

Mr Rasmussen says the Cook Islands has a perfectly legitimate case to put to the New Zealand Government and say "well, you should also assist us."