Financial Secretary Office News

Financial Secretary Office News

Call for submissions on the draft Telecommunications Market Competition Policy 2019

The Ministry of Finance and Economic Management (MFEM) today released the draft Cook Islands Telecommunications Market Competition Policy 2019 for public consultation.

The Cook Islands has been serviced by a single telecommunications operator, partly-owned by the Government, under a legislated monopoly since 1989, with limited independent oversight. While this approach has served the Cook Islands well to date, the telecommunications landscape, both here and abroad, has changed considerably since the Telecommunications Act 1989 came into force.

Innovation and development in the telecommunications industry in the form of new services – such as the ‘app’ economy – are posing new challenges and opportunities for established regulation. The local infrastructure landscape is also changing. The Manatua Cable, which is expected to start service in mid-2020, will provide fast, reliable and affordable internet services. In addition, experience elsewhere in the world has demonstrated the benefits of competition in the telecommunications industry: for consumers through access to new services and lower service prices, and for business through new investment opportunities.

“The Government is committed to opening up the telecommunications market to competition to secure these benefits, and at the same time adapting the regulatory framework so that it is fit for purpose in this 21st Century environment”, Acting Financial Secretary Lavinia Tama, said.

The Government’s proposals in this regard are set out in the draft policy, on which the Government is seeking industry and community feedback.

“The closing date for submissions is Friday 14 June 2019. Written submissions received by the closing date will be considered in the development of the final policy. The Government is also planning to hold a number of public forums at dates and venues to be announced. This will provide another opportunity for comment”, said Ms Tama.

The draft policy is available on MFEM’s website at or can be obtained by either contacting the MFEM Economics Unit on 29511 or via email at
Submissions can be sent to MFEM by post at PO Box 120, Avarua, via e-mail at, or lodged in person at Level 1, MFEM Building, Avarua.

8 May 2019

Cook Islands Government Quarterly Financial Report – December 2018

Cook Islands Government Quarterly Financial Report

December 2018.

 Category: Financial Secretary Office News

The Cook Islands Government (CIG) preliminary financial outcome for the December 2018 quarter is now available.

Net Operating Balance and Fiscal Balance of General Government

December 2018 Quarter







Operating Revenue $94,296 $98,237 $3,941
Operating Expenditure $83,488 $74,612 $8,876
Net Operating Balance $10,808 $23,625 $12,817
Add Depreciation $4,679 $3,935 $744
Less Capital Expenditure -$16,298 -$11,391 -$4,906
Fiscal Balance -$810 $16,169 $16,979

The net operating balance for the period ended 31 December 2018 was a surplus of $23.63 million, which represents a $12.82 million higher compared to the surplus estimated for the quarter.

The favourable result was driven mainly by;

  1. Savings in overall operating expenditure of $8.88 million. The first three months of the financial year evidenced greater control of operating expenditure due to the delayed tabling of the Appropriation Bill as a result of the 2018 general election. Administered Payments and Other Expenses was the main contributor followed by Ministry and Pa Enua Expenditures
  2. Crown Revenue collected was $3.94 million above Budget Estimates. Fishing Licenses was the main contributor to the above budget estimates, due to end of the calendar year rush to purchase bilateral purse seine days. This was due to the high presence of Skip Jack Tuna in our EEZ in November and December.

Fiscal Balance

The overall fiscal balance for the reporting period was $16.17million, after taking into account spending on Capital expenditure of $11.39 million and adding back depreciation funding of $3.94 million.

Compared to budget, spending on Capital projects were below estimates by $4.91 million. The variance was mainly due to timing of spending related to a number of projects especially projects administered by Cook Islands Investment Corporation.

Official Development Assistance (ODA)

Official Development Assistance was appropriated at the total value of $61.18 million in the 2018/19 Appropriation. This value includes the Core Sector Support Grant Funding Arrangement with New Zealand for Education, Health and Tourism.

This second quarter reported a total spend of $10.73 million. The low spend for ODA in the first quarter of the financial year is due to the delay in the appropriation bill being passed in parliament as well as the NZ triennium funding envelope not being confirmed due to ongoing negotiations on priorities and the design of the individual grant funding agreements.

Financial Position

Overall cash position at the end of the reporting period was $164.14 million. This includes $79.41 million of funds that are committed and set aside for specific purposes. This leaves $82.47 million of unencumbered cash reserve which Government can draw upon to fund future investments.

The CIG reported a gross debt of $98.94 million. This amount represents actual disbursed loans adjusted for debt service repayments. Other committed loans that have not being disbursed, like the Te Manatua Cable loan, are not included.

Net Debt was reported at $51.12 million at the end of the reporting period. Net debt adjusts the Gross Debt for the effect of the LRF held against those loans and the loans held on behalf of SOE’s.



September 2018

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Proposed Drafting Instructions for Immigration Legislation and Regulations

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration is in its second week of Public Consultations on the proposed drafting Instructions for a new Immigration Bill and set of regulations.

Government recognizes that Immigration is a sensitive issue for Cook Islanders and non-Cook Islands residents alike”, said Kairangi Samuela Principal Immigration officer, and it is essential that we get as much feedback in this document to ensure it meets our needs as well as being robust for future proofing.”

Public meetings have been held in the Vaka Takitumu, Aitutaki and over the next week in Vaka Puaikura at the Calvary Hall and at the Sinai Hall on Thursday 29th November 2018.

Sector as well as individual meetings have also been held with the Are Ariki and Aronga Mana, various Government Ministries including Labour, Customs, Police and private sector. Consultations on the draft have been held over the last few months to come up with this document which has been made public and available on request.

“The majority of comments, as we expected, have been raised on the issue of Permanent residents and criteria, as well as the rules governing work permits”, said Samuela, “Aitutaki residents raised the possibility of those who live on the Outer Islands as priority for awarding of PR given their small population sizes and the positive effect this could have on their small economies”.

For more information email

View or download these documents:

Immigration Act Review (Proposed Regulations Consultations-October 2018

Immigration Act Review (Drafting Instructions-October 2018)

Short Presentation for Public Meetings

Summary of drafting instructions for Cook Islands Immigration Legislationand Regulations