Cook Islands Ministry of Finance News
- access their own taxation information online;
- reduce paperwork between the taxpayer and MFEM;
- lodge their returns online;
- receive updates on returns; and
- lodge their returns whilst out of the country.
Updated 8 January 2015, 12:00 AEDT
Pacific nations are aiming to dramatically improve their gathering of population statistics over the next decade.
Gathering facts and figures on births, deaths, marriages and health problems are vitally important to governments to assist in deciding what programs to implement.
The 10-year campaign, focussing on civil registration and vital statistics, was agreed on at an Asia-Pacific ministerial meeting held in Thailand late last year.
The Cook Islands Health Minister, Nandi Glassie, in his interview with Radio Australia says that while gathering accurate statistics sounds boring, it is something that Pacific nations need to focus on if they want to make good decisions.
Presenter: Bruce Hill
Speaker: Nandi Glassie, Cook Islands Health Minister
PRESS RELEASE - Cook Islands to Investigate the Feasibility of BCI Joining New Zealand Payments System
Cook Islands to Investigate the Feasibility of BCI Joining New Zealand Payments System
Minister of Finance, the Honourable Mark Brown has outlined steps to build on findings from the independent banking review prepared by Sam Knowles in 2012 which outlined that banking in the Cook Islands was at a cross roads and in major need of change.
In his report, Mr Knowles outlined that business customers set their benchmark for the banks by their experience in their banking relationships and functionality in New Zealand. One of the major differences between the countries was the manual payments system which underpinned the domestic banking system in the Cook Islands.
Minister Brown outlined that there was a need to introduce a cost effective way of modernising the payments system in the Cook Islands,
“The current system does need to change for the benefit of the Cook Islands economy. I have spoken to many businesses in the country and they have to adopt a dual banking model which includes having accounts at all three of the local banks so they can make payments direct to the customers of those banks as well as an account with a New Zealand based bank, so that if they directly purchase services or supplies from New Zealand, they can use that account via internet banking as their primary business account.”
Minister Brown announced that he would be assembling a team consisting of the Financial Secretary, the CEO of the BCI and the Financial Supervisory Commissioner Paul Heckles to commence a process of assessing the feasibility of BCI joining the New Zealand Payments system.
In November, the Financial Secretary, the Chair, CEO and an Independent Specialist Banking Director of the Bank of the Cook Islands (BCI) attended and presented to the PaymentsNZ conference. During this time there has been a consensus emerging that there is a possibility that the Cook Islands could move to the New Zealand Payments System in a very similar way to what Niue has done.
Minister Brown outlined that “electronic settlements and internet banking have revolutionised the way modern banking is done, creating a major gain in economic productivity. Unfortunately for us this has failed to materialise in the Cook Islands where banks still run on a predominantly manual system especially when effecting customer instructions across banks.”.”
Chair of the BCI, Jessie Sword outlined that the BCI wanted to become more competitive and drive the cost of banking down, “I was impressed with the opportunities that could present themselves at the PaymentsNZ conference, and look forward to seeing what can be done to introduce a more automated system into the Cook Islands.”
The team established by the Minister will look into the feasibility of BCI joining the New Zealand payments system, and report back to Cabinet in the first quarter of 2015.
The Minister of Finance – Mark Brown – is calling for nominations for a series of special awards to celebrate 50 years of development next year.
The winners of the awards will be announced at an awards dinner with the country’s Development Partners during the Development Partners Meeting in February next year.
The awards and the Development Partners meeting will be one of the many special events taking place next year to celebrate half a century of self-government in the Cook Islands.
There are 7 categories in the awards, they are:
Five Best Decade Development Awards for each of the decades for 1965-2014; Supreme development 1965 – 2015, and a People’s Choice award.
“The 2015 Development Awards will recognise the country's best development achievements over the last fifty years. These awards will honour organisations, individuals and the public and private sector for their efforts in creating positive change in the Cook Islands” Minister Brown said.
The nomination form can be downloaded by clicking here or can be collected from the Development Coordination Division offices.
Winners will be recognised at 2015 Development Partner’s Meeting Awards Dinner on Tuesday 10th February 2015.
Over the last four years the government has hosted an annual meeting to allow Cook Islands government, civil society and private sector development partners, to meet and mix with international development partners.
The big meeting will be centred on the National Auditorium and the pa enua hostels with various meetings and functions being spread around the auditorium precinct, again generating a picture of the many facets of Cook Islands life with the auditorium representing Rarotonga and the hostels their sister island homes.
The meeting will be held between the 9th and 13th of February next year; the visit to Mitiaro will be on the 12th of February with an overnight stay.