Prime Minister Henry Puna

Cooks PM stands by money advance

Mr Puna, who is from Manihiki, agreed to give the landowners just under US$26,000 during Te Maeva Nui celebrations so they could go shopping before returning to the island.

The Government has previously said that the payment was made after the landowners threatened to vandalise the two solar plants on the island if they were not paid.

In a statement from his office Mr Puna expressed surprised that the early payout had sparked a police complaint.

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.

Cooks PM axes departure cards

Mr Puna says anyone leaving the Cook Islands will now only have to check in and follow the normal security checks before departure.

However, arrival cards will still need to be completed.

Meanwhile, Mr Puna arrives in New Zealand today for a week of events marking the country's 50th anniversary of self government.

It follows gala events on Rarotonga last week.