Cook Island

Cooks Health Minister says budget is appropriate

The health budget of 3.4 of GDP has been criticised by prominent New Zealand surgeon George Ngaei, who was born in the Cook Islands.

Health Minister Nandi Glassie said while the figure was below the World Health Organisation standard of five percent, its equivalent to nine million US dollars.

The Minister said he argued for more money for health but it was the best that could be done within budget constraints.

Cooks leaders blocked from telling EU it's not welcome

Under the agreement the Cook Islands will receive almost $US7-million for allowing four European purse seiners to fish for skipjack tuna.

Traditional leader William Framhein said they had intended to deliver a message to EU officials at a public meeting Wednesday night to keep out of their seas.

But he says they were told by Deputy Prime Minister Mark Brown that he would not expose the EU representatives to them.

Broadcasting deal will bring region together - Cooks PM

Henry Puna says the move to provide up to eight hours a day of free-to-air New Zealand content, including top rugby action, would be beneficial not only for sports fans.

Mr Puna says he is looking forward to the cultural exchanges that will occur via broadcasting.

"We're looking forward to seeing all of these programmes. There will be some educational programmes that will be good for the kids, and for us adults Tagata Pasifika and the Māori programmes will be very, very welcome."

Cooks celebrations blamed for rise in pneumonia

The Chief Medical Officer, Bernard Fouke, says there has been a number of people living in close proximity with different populations, which was the most likely reason for the surge in illness.

Dr Fouke told the Cook Islands News that hundreds of people have been struck by illness, but that few of them are sick enough to require hospital treatment.

He says the increase in illness was anticipated and well handled by authorities on Rarotonga.

Niue and the Cook Islands to meet in rugby league international

The Rock thrashed South Africa 48-4 during their last hit-out in May and are now ranked 32nd in the world.

Niue rugby league team.

The 17th ranked Cook Islands will use the game on October the third as preparation for their Rugby League World Cup qualifying match against Tonga two weeks later.

Niue coach Brendan Perenara says even though the match doesn't have test status or rankings points on offer, going up against the Cook Islands will be the biggest game in their history.

Cooks celebrates 50 years of self-government

Wednesday is Constitution Day in the Cook Islands and New Zealand has brought a large delegation to mark the start of its special relationship with the country.

The waterfront in Rarotonga has been heaving as crowds gather for traditional dancing and speeches, with guests called from all over the Cooks' far-flung islands.

New Zealand's large delegation has been attending a special prayer service.

More aid for Cook Islands - NZ PM Key

The money is to be spent on education, health and infrastructure, such as rolling projects in renewable energy providing solar power to Cook Islanders' homes.

On top of the three-year aid pledge Key also announced a gift of $11.7m (US47.6 million) to go towards rebuilding the country's national secondary school.

Key has led a delegation of ministers and MPs and New Zealand-based Cook Islands community leaders to Rarotonga where they were welcomed by Prime Minister Henry Puna for two days of meetings and festivities.

Retirement age rule goes to Cabinet

The retirement package is being refined for Cabinet to examine.

The Public Service Commission confirmed there is no mandatory retirement age in Public Service legislation or policy at present. 

Nor is there an age at which a public servant can opt to take voluntary retirement. Cook Islanders can begin collecting the old age pension at 60.

Cabinet is also going to be told public sector employee level is reaching the same critical number as in 1996 and hard decisions will need to be made to rein back the current government growth rate.

Cooks set to sign contract on seabed minerals in Pacific

The area on the Pacific seafloor, spanning six million square kilometres - a size comparable to the United States - already has 15 other countries and private companies vying for exclusive rights over certain parts.

The Cook Islands seabed minerals authority minister, Mark Brown, has been in Jamaica at the International Seabed Authority headquarters to work out the final issues related to the signing of the contract.

The government is looking at three areas, with a total of 75,000 square kilometres.

Cook Islands Mineral claim rich Clarion-Clipperton Zone

The CCZ spans six million square kilometres and the Cook Islands will join around 15 other countries and private companies which have been allocated exclusive areas.

Seabed Minerals Authority minister Mark Brown has been in Jamaica at the International Seabed Authority headquarters to work out the final issues related to the signing of the contract with the International Seabed Authority for the three areas in the CCZ designated for the Cook Islands. The three areas total 75 thousand square kilometres.