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NZ Aid Money Wasted on Lining Pockets of Cook Islands' PM

NZ Aid Money Wasted on Lining Pockets of Cook Islands' PM

21 MAY 2014

Reacting to Brigitte Masters' story published by 3News this morning revealing that Cook Islands Prime Minister Henry Puna has received at least $116,000 of NZ Aid money, despite an apparent conflict of interest, Jordan Williams, Executive Director of the Taxpayers’ Union says.

"NZ Aid is supposed to help those in need, not feather the nests of the Cook Islands oligarchy. The Cooks have a long history of corruption, why on Earth wasn’t MFAT making sure proper processes were being followed and taxpayers’ money being accounted for?”

"John Key and Murray McCully need to front up and answer why New Zealand taxpayer money is buying boats and outboards for Cook Islands' politicians.”

“Economic development is roads and infrastructure, not grants to private businesses and senior politicians.”

Mr McCully was in the Cook Islands earlier this month. The Taxpayers’ Union also understand that Mr McCully visited Rarotonga in 2011 to personally approve the NZ Aid funding for pearl farming.

“It would be astonishing if Mr McCully wasn’t aware that Mr Puna has himself received an NZ Aid grant. If Mr McCully didn’t know why did officials and Mr Puna hide it? If Mr McCully did know, why didn’t he put a stop to it?” asks Mr Williams.


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