Hundreds Sign Petition To Postpone Cook Islands Water Project

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Organizer wants assurance $60 million project is fool-proof

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Feb. 19, 2014) – A group petitioning against the Te Mato Vai water project in the Cook Islands say when it gets 1,000 signatures it will apply for a High Court injunction to postpone the project from going ahead.

The initiative, which will upgrade the water network in Rarotonga, is a partnership between the Cook Islands, China and New Zealand.

The organiser of the petition, James Thomson, says it already has 500 signatures.

Mr Thomson says they are concerned that the original 60 million New Zealand dollar [US$50 million] price tag has skyrocketed to almost 73 million dollars [$US60.7 million].

He says it wants more evidence from the government that the current pipes are not up to standard before the project goes ahead, and that the new system will be drought-proof.

"If we get 1,000 which is quite a significant number of people here, we are actually looking to put in a high court injunction. Not to stop it, but many people have said they want a good fool-proof water system and we reckon that systems can be built at a far cheaper rate, 50 million dollars cheaper, and we can actually make sure that it is drought-proof, " saysThe Te Mato Vai petition organiser, James Thomson.

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