MORE FUNDING SUPPORT AND ADMINISTRATIVE AUTHORITY FOR COOKS OUTER

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ISLANDS

RAROTONGA (July 6, 1997 - PIDP/CPIS)---In the Cook Islands, Associate Minister of Finance Papamama Pokino has announced that the Outer Islands will receive more funds in the 1997-1998 national budget. In addition, he says, they will have substantially more control over how and when the funds are expended.

Pokino calls the change, "devolution of authority to the Outer Islands Councils."

He says the Councils, "not the bureaucrats on Rarotonga," now will decide on the proper use of funds allocated for such matters as agriculture, health, and education.

Assisting the Councils in the fiscal transition will be Chief Administration Officers from the capital who will work and reside on the Outer Islands, including Aitutaki, Atiu, Pukapuka, and Penrhyn.

Pokino points out that , all over the world, decision-making authority is being returned to elected local governments at the community level. He notes that while the Cook Islands is working on devolution of authority to eleven communities, "China is in the process of doing the same for over a million towns and villages."

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