The nation’s major churches are in two minds over whether the country should go ahead with seabed mining.
Religious Advisory Council president Eric Toleafoa says the Council supports the government in its plans for seabed mining, and he has the backing of Apostolic Bishop Tutai Pere.
But Cook Islands Christian Church General Secretary Nga Mataio says its church leadership is unable to support seabed mining because the majority of its members do not support it.
Mataio said members have openly expressed their views in several public consultations on the matter over the years.
Last month, the seabed mineral bill was given another week to undergo public consultation, and on July 10, the Amendment Bill was passed in parliament.
It was at that time that the Pacific Conference of Churches, represented here by Cook Islands Christian Church, called for Parliament to reject changes to the seabed minerals legislation.
Pacific Conferences Churches general secretary Reverend James Bhagwan had called for a ban on seabed mining, when bill was under review.
Deputy Prime Minister Mark Brown had responded that Cook Islands Government had looked carefully into the development of its seabed minerals sector.
Toleafoa said representative Bishop Tutai Pere attended the public consultation last month as a member of the Cook Islands Religious Advisory Council and showed their support.
He said personally they did not have any issue with the mining and says it was important to trust the system and the government to do what is necessary.
Seabed Minerals Commissioner Alex Herman had also said that Bishop Tutai Pere attended the public consultation as a member of the Cook Islands Religious Advisory Council, and reaffirmed the council’s support for Cook Islands development of its seabed minerals.
Toleafoa said he had read the mineral documents and had no issues with the what government was working on.
He said the government was doing what was best for the country.