Cook Islands

Cooks battle with schooner operator continues

A complaint has been laid against Pacific Schooners with the Public Expenditure Review Committee, the country's financial watchdog, by the Financial Secretary Richard Neves.

The complaint says Pacific Schooners failed to meet its contract of repatriating some of the outer islands teams after Te Maeva Nui celebrations.

A complaint has also been laid with the Audit Office by Opposition MP James Beer who is also requesting an investigation.

Sport: Football World Cup Qualifiers to kick off in Oceania

Tonga, American Samoa, Samoa and Cook Islands are all in Nuku'alofa, vying for one spot in next year's Oceania Nations Cup.

Samoa prevailed when the same teams met in Apia four years ago but head coach Phineas Young says the squad has a new look after being ovehauled in recent years.

Plan to protect biodiversity

The National Biodiversity Strategic Action Plan (NBSAP) two-day workshop was opened by Minister for the Environment Kiriau Turepu at the Pukapuka Hostel on Tuesday.

The project is part of the second generation of Biodiversity Enabling Activities under the Global Environment Facility (GEF). The Cook Islands has been a party to the Convention on Biological Diversity since 1993.

Cook Islands to benefit from Tropic Twilight

“Tropic Twilight is a regular joint exercise in the Pacific involving the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT), and other countries with an interest in the region,” Brownlee says.

“The exercise is aimed at testing the NZDF’s ability to deploy alongside other militaries and partner-governments to provide humanitarian assistance and disaster relief in the Pacific.

Anti-nuclear ‘dream team’ reunite

The day marked 20 years since passionate locals rallied together to promote an anti-nuclear Pacific, and five of those individuals came together to reminisce.

Brian Mason, Travis Moore, Peter Heays, Jolene Bosanquet and Cook Islands Voyaging Society captain Tua Pittman recounted the days they made history in our small nation.

“We did our best. We dared to care. We were part of the most amazing Pacific wide campaign,” said Bosanquet.

Nuclear weapons testing in Pacific waters occurred between 1966 and 1996 at Mururoa and Fangataufa in French Polynesia.

Fuel depot upgrade planned for Cooks' Penrhyn

One of the main projects for the force's Tropic Twilight exercise is the relocation and rebuilding of the fuel depot on Penrhyn.

New Zealand's Foreign Minister Murray McCully says improving fuel storage will enable better use of the patrol boat Te Kukupa to carry out fisheries surveillance around the islands.

The force's engineers will also upgrade buildings on Manihiki.

The exercise will involve China, the United States, the UK and France and is aimed at testing the force's abilities to provide disaster relief and humanitarian assistance.

Teaching jobs hard to fill in Cook Islands

Twenty two positions are currently being advertised including five jobs for principals and eight jobs at the main secondary school Tereora College.

There are also seven other vacancies at primary and secondary schools in the country.

A Director of Human Resources with the government Terry Utaga says an example of the problem is the field of accounting where potential applicants for an accounting teacher job prefer to stick to higher paying jobs outside teaching.

Cook Islands Judge blocks compensation fund raid

Two memoranda seeking to cancel an order made in the Land Court in June this year for compensation payment to landowners were lodged by Crown Law acting on behalf of Energy minister Henry Puna.

Had Justice Savage approved the order to cancel, government would have been able to access close to $300,000 (US$194, 615) and pay 10 people who Crown Law submitted were the rightful landowners of land in Tauhunu and Tukao atolls.

Cooks opposition MP says depopulation is a very real tragedy

Last week the Cook Islands prime minister Henry Puna told New Zealand reporters the Cook Islands does not have a serious depopulation issue.

Figures obtained from the Ministry of Finance Statistics unit show in the last four years the Cook Islands resident population has declined by 14%.

The 2011 census had the resident population at 14,974. The latest figures released by Statistics show there are 12,900 people in the Cook Islands.

James Beer, says it's disappointing that leader of the country has not done the proper research, and is dismissive of the issue.

Cooks anti-homosexual laws targeted

Homosexual acts in the country are punishable with a prison term of up to five years.

Te Tiare Association supports lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and says the newly-launched United Nations Pacific Free and Equal campaign has sparked a conversation about acceptance.

Its secretary, Valentino Wichman, says there has been minimal opposition to its plans to repeal laws that criminalise homosexuality.