RAROTONGA, 15 JUNE 2017 (TVNZ) —New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English has kicked off a three nation tour of the Pacific in the Cook Islands, giving $20 million (US$14.5 million) to go towards faster, low-cost internet and a wastewater system to save Rarotonga’s popular lagoon.


The lack of non-compliant sewerage systems by many resorts in the area led to the Government declaring it a national disaster two-years-ago.


Since then some work has gone into cleaning up the lagoon, but the New Zealand funded reticulated waste water system is welcome.


Local resident Ana Rasmussen said it was “fantastic” New Zealand has given its support.


But Bill English saved his “home-run” announcement until last concerning a contentious issue.


There is currently a requirement for Cook Islanders to spend five-years in New Zealand after the age of 50 if they want to bring their pension home.


“If we are re-elected in September, then as part of executing undertakings we’ve already made about changes to eligibility to National Superannuation, we will take into account this request from the Cook Islands’ government,” he said….PACNEWS