$155 Million Budget Proposed For Cook Islands

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‘Significant’ funds allocated to infrastructure: finance minister

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, June 12, 2013) – The Cook Islands budget has been tabled with new expenditure close to US$1.4 million earmarked for teachers, nurses, and doctors.

In addition the Finance Minister, Mark Brown, says a significant amount of money has been allocated to infrastructure, particularly harbor upgrades and water programs.

Under this year’s US$155 million budget pensioners aged 70 and over will also get an extra 40 dollars a month

As part of an ongoing campaign to combat the high incidence of non-communicable disease, further levies have been put on soft drinks and tobacco.

Mr. Brown says increasing teachers’ salaries has been long overdue.

"Basically making sure that teachers are being paid their appropriate salary. It hasn’t been adjusted for a number of years and we felt this was one area of priority that we needed to address with education being one of the fundamental building blocks for our economy moving forwards."

Mark Brown says Cook Islands gross domestic product is expected to grow by 4.6 percent this year.

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