Cook Islands desperate for travel bubble progress

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Tue, 11 Aug 2020, 9:53AM
Photo / 123RF

Cook Islands desperate for travel bubble progress

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Tue, 11 Aug 2020, 9:53AM

Cook Islands businesses hope a lifeline from New Zealand will come sooner rather than later.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has signalled a bubble could open by the end of the year.

But Cook Islands Private Sector Taskforce chairperson Fletcher Melvin says that's not soon enough.

He estimates at least 90 per cent of the country's income comes from tourism, so they'll be in dire straits when the wage subsidy finishes by the end of next month.

“I think a top up, grant, or loan from the New Zealand government would be needed if the bubble doesn't open before the end of the year.”

Melvin says it's disappointing there's no definitive date yet -- given their wage subsidy scheme ends at the end of September.

“I do hope that if we don’t open up towards the end of the year,  that there'll be a financial package proposed, to help people survive until then.”