Wednesday 25 February 2015 | Published in Politics
The Democratic Party is ‘disappointed’ the Government did not fight harder to keep Telecom Cook Islands locally owned.
Spark New Zealand has sold its 60 per cent interest in Telecom Cook Islands for $23 million to Bluesky Samoa, but Opposition leader William ‘Smiley’ Heather says he is disappointed the Government did not use its first right of refusal to keep Spark’s shareholding within Cook Islands ownership.
“This is a strategic asset and we should at all times try to keep this valuable asset in the Cook Islands,” he said.
“On the question of shares being sold to Telecom staff and the private sector, that’s fine and I support local ownership. However the larger share of TCI shares has sold to a foreign company, Bluesky from Samoa.”
Heather said it appears that Minister of Finance Mark Brown did not want to keep the telecommunications asset for the people of the Cook Islands.
“If the Government had not spent most of our reserves we could have purchased the 60 per cent shares back.”
However, Brown said he was happy the sale had finally gone through.
“In our 50th year of self-government, telecommunications will be a key to linking up our celebrations here on Rarotonga with all our communities in the outer islands and to the rest of the world.