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PMG broadcast contract on hold

Wednesday 1 April 2009 | Published in Local

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Monday 30: The host broadcast agreement for the Pacific Mini Games is being looked over by government officials, to ensure that it complies with Cook Islands legislation.

After a two-day visit earlier this month South Pacific Games Council president Vidhya Lakhan said that council had a number of concerns with the organising of the games to date.

Cook Islands News understands that the host broadcast arrangement between Pacific Mini Games 2009 Ltd and Australian Media Consultants was put on hold recently, and was one of the points of concern raised by Lakhan.

With the company charged with organising the games being a crown entity, the money paid in and out of the company – in effect, public money – is to be accounted for under Cook Islands legislation.

Games minister Wilkie Rasmussen says the host broadcasting agreement was identified as a contract which was “not consistent under our own law”.

“The problem we have is that the contract signed, was not under Cook Islands law and the legal requirements that we have to work under.”

Rasmussen says there is a need to come back to the table to reach some compromise on the issue.

“We believe we do reserve the right to review the arrangement – to review it and strike a deal which is comfortable for both sides, so [lawyer] Tim Arnold is looking into this.”

The solicitor general has been in contact with the head of AMC, Mike Williams, over this issue, with the SPG council concerned that AMC has not been paid for previous work.

Rasmussen adds one of the concerns government has is trying to ascertain what the games organisers are actually paying for.

“We hope to work things out [on this matter] very soon.”

The deal with the host broadcaster to deliver live/delayed television and radio coverage, via the set-up of an international broadcast centre (IBC), is worth around $500,000.

As for the concern regarding recent restructuring of the organising games committee, Rasmussen says that the organisation is now “more efficient” and capable of delivering a successful games.

Games board chairman Tiki Matapo and chief executive Mac Mokoroa were to have addressed the SPG council executive board meeting in Queenstown, New Zealand, at the weekend, over the concerns expressed by Lakhan in Rarotonga two weeks ago. - Moana Moeka’a