Minister for Finance, The Honourable Mark Brown, released the Government’s response to the recent review of the Cook Islands Banking system.
The report authored by Sam Knowles, former CEO of Kiwi Bank contained seven recommendations. These were a mix of actions which would go some way to improving the banking environment in the Cook Islands.
“The Government has gone through Sam’s recommendations carefully and I think we have struck the right balance moving forward. Sam has made some recommendations on land management issues. These are obviously complex issues whilst the Government recognises there are reforms required it will not act on these straight away.
The Government understands the close affinity and relationship that Cook Islanders have with their land.
“Land is a sacrosanct aspect of who we are, it is crucial to our being, our history, our culture, it is who we are. The Government will not rush blindly into these issues. We need to start a dialogue with all stakeholders, such as the traditional leaders of the country, the LAT and the Law Society to ensure we get the balance right.
”The Government has accepted Sam’s recommendation to establish a Non–Performing Loan Task Force to work through with the three banks to gain a deeper understanding of the problem and identify strategies that could be employed by the Banks to ensure that assets underlying the stock of Non performing loans could be put back to use. The Government will shortly announce an eminent person to head the task force.
The Government will also commence work through the Ministry of Justice to introduce an insolvency bill into the Parliament in 2014.
Other responses to the recommendations are contained within the attached response.
For further information contact Paul Heckles at Paul.Heckles@fsc.gov.ck