The “lack of synergy and coherence” in the policies to be implemented by government in the 2021/22 budget to bring about the much-needed recovery is “fiscally irresponsible”, says the Opposition party.
In place for four weeks, the Cook Islands-New Zealand bubble is bringing in more visitors than tourism stakeholders had projected. Looking ahead, the industry and government are now looking to capitalise on that success by laying out the rationale for opening the country to Australians.
Amidst an environment of continued uncertainty, the Government is still banking on a positive trajectory in the handling of the Covid-19 pandemic and the possible opening of tourism to additional markets.
The Chamber of Commerce reacted to yesterday’s unveiling of the budget with a warning that businesses could be forced to lay off workers in the absence of government financial support for vulnerable companies.
Describing its revenue forecast for the coming 12 months as conservative, government is predicting a nearly 9 per cent increase in gross domestic product to drive spending in areas such as health, education, and infrastructure.
All Government MPs including the new Manihiki member have been given ministerial responsibilities in the new look Cabinet that saw Prime Minister Mark Brown offload nearly half of the 17 portfolios previously held.
Twenty-six young and budding entrepreneurs participated in the inaugural Taki Tahi – Cook Islands Young Entrepreneur Network’s ‘start-up weekend’ project that was held at Te Ara Museum of Cultural Enterprise in Muri from May 14 to 16.
Transportation services around Rarotonga were forced to come to a grinding halt last year when border closures meant their main source of revenue, tourists, would no longer be around to hire out their rental cars and motorbikes.
The government has signalled current Covid-19 financial support measures are set to wind down at the end of June, but the Cook Islands Chamber of Commerce believes a number of businesses will require some form of support beyond that date.
Although just a trickle compared to pre-Covid times, the opening of a travel bubble with New Zealand and the arrival of tourists is coinciding with government’s plans for economic recovery, which remain focused on stimulus and spending.