Monday 12 March 2012 | Published in Regional
Finance secretary Richard Neves counts CISNOC’s pre-Pacific Games shortfall as the first “challenging issue” he encountered when he took up his position in the Cook Islands.
Neves was speaking on Matariki FM to host William Framhein last Monday evening when he discussed a number of topical issues.
“We want to ensure that sports remain vibrant in the Cook Islands,” he said.
“With the loan we provided last year, we wanted to ensure that athletes got to attend the Pacific Games. Athletes had dedicated their effort, money and goodwill. We gave a guarantee to ensure Air New Zealand and Air New Caledonia could fly them to the Pacific Games and they got there.”
Neves made it clear he does not believe CISNOC had been given a free ride.
“The guarantee was a debt and it (CISNOC) still owes the government $126,000.”
Neves said that he himself became a government advisor to the CISNOC board along with internal affairs secretary Bredina Drollet to make sure that the taxpayers’ interests were taken into account when the sports body made its decisions.
“I think some improvements have been made and I think we have a pretty good idea now of where CISNOC is financially.
“There are times when government has to step in and put things on the right track.”
He did warn that government should be careful in trying to restructure the organisation.
“It’s an Olympic committee and the federation have strict rules about government involvement.
“There needs to be an internal system for reform so that CISNOC manages its finances so that smaller organisations can bid for money and get that money.”
Neves said the government has requested that CISNOC honour commitments it has made around the dispersal of International Olympic Committee allocated money.
The government’s objective for sport was to support grass roots participation as well as supporting international and elite athletes.