Kiwis can't fly to the Cook Islands - but we may end up financing their wage subsidy

Publish Date
Wed, 27 Jan 2021, 5:08PM
(Photo / Getty)
(Photo / Getty)

Kiwis can't fly to the Cook Islands - but we may end up financing their wage subsidy

Publish Date
Wed, 27 Jan 2021, 5:08PM

New Zealand might end up forking out the cash to keep Cook Islands businesses open.

Rarotonga has extended its wage subsidy until March for 4,000 people and 400 businesses.

It's so far cost more than NZ$50 million to finance the scheme. 

Prime Minister Mark Brown told Heather du Plessis-Allan they're preparing a new budget for July.  

"It's inevitable that we will have to turn to either additional debt funding or additional grant funding if we can receive it from some grateful donors." 

Brown says the only donor they rely on is New Zealand - but he denied it would be a bailout, more as "enabling us to carry on business". 

He says much depends on a travel bubble with New Zealand - which is on the cards for March. 

"That's what we're working towards with both Governments. But of course, that's all dependant on New Zealand being able to keep Covid out of its border, and so far it's been doing a good job - so it looks promising." 

Last night, it was announced that passengers would be prevented from boarding a flight bound for Rarotonga, due to concerns around the community Covid case in Northland. 

Brown says that they remain confident in New Zealand's response to the virus, but they were just waiting for further test results to come back. 

He agreed this can be a sign of how their response will be moving forward. 

"We've always been very clear that our response will be determined in what happens in New Zealand."

Brown says that some people in the community want their borders locked down completely, but that many are open to New Zealanders flying there.

LISTEN ABOVE