In this file photo from April 2021, a member from the Te Mato Vai Project Management Unit is seen at the newly-built Turangi intake. 21042510
The final defects programme for the Rarotonga water project should be completed in December, bringing an end to the “nearly” $90 million project.
secretary Garth Henderson told Cook Islands News that the Te Mato Vai water supply project, which
initially had a budget of $59 million, plus or minus 50 per cent, had costed
“This amount basically
covers Stage 1 Ring main replacement and Stage 2 intakes and project
administration,” Henderson said.
“The final defects
period with McConnell Dowell contractor for Stage 2, is finishing in December
2022 and there is about $193,000 of payments left to be processed by the end of
To carry out the project, the governments of the
Cook Islands, New Zealand, and China formed a “tripartite agreement” to fund
and deliver the project. It was said to be the first time China had engaged in
such an arrangement.
“We are still below the $90m forecasted spend,”
“As a matter of process, a Project Completion
Report will be completed for release early next year. I expect we will be in a
better position to make more information available.”
The Cook Islands Government threatened legal action
against the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) – one of
the project’s main contractors – alleging shoddy workmanship in replacing the
ring mains as part of Rarotonga’s aged water network infrastructure about nine
The government asked the Chinese company to replace about
17 kilometres of the pipeline they laid around the island after a 2018 report
by New Zealand consultancy Opus – now known as WSP – looked at claims of poor
workmanship and raised questions over the materials used by CCECC.
An $11.2 million contract for the remedial work – funded
with grant money from the New Zealand government – was eventually awarded to
local company Landholdings Ltd.
That work was completed in early 2020.
However, it appears the
matter has been resolved, with Prime Minister Mark Brown saying the legal
matters had been concluded at a joint press conference with New Zealand Foreign
Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta back in October.
At the time, PM Brown
called the project a “milestone in our country’s history”.
Cook Islands News has
been chasing Ministry of Finance and Economic Management (MFEM) for why and how
the legal matter was resolved, but so far has not received a response on this.