Financial Secretary Office News

Financial Secretary Office News

The Cook Islands to Host IMF PFTAC Steering Committee in March 2015

The Cook Islands will host the IMF Pacific Financial Technical Assistance Center (PFTAC) Steering Committee in mid March 2015.  PFTAC is one of the IMF's nine regional technical assistance centres, a model of technical assistance delivery first launched by the IMF in 1993 through PFTAC. 

PFTAC's guiding objective is improved economic management and sustainable economic growth across the Pacific Island Countries. PFTAC now serves 16 countries and territories, including the Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu. 

PFTAC provides capacity-building assistance through a team of international resident experts, supplemented by short-term specialists, who deliver assistance in the IMF's core areas of expertise. With PFTAC, the IMF combines strategic advice from its Headquarters with local expertise and on-the-ground capacity building. 

PFTAC is guided by a Steering Committee that consists of representatives from recipient countries, donors and the IMF, facilitating a coordinated design, implementation, and monitoring of technical assistance programs. Its current program cycle is funded by the Asian Development Bank, Australia, the European Union, the IMF, Korea, New Zealand, and the host country Fiji. 

CINSF Appeal

On Monday 17 November, the Cook Islands Court of Appeal made a decision on the constitutionality of the Cook Islands National Superannuation Fund Act 2000. The Court of Appeal found and declared that the Act is a valid enactment of the Parliament of the Cook Islands.

Cook Islands Minister of Finance, the Honourable Mark Brown pointed out that the Cook Islands National Superannuation Fund was a fundamental pillar of the country’s retirement policy. “We are becoming a more prosperous nation, we must move with the times, and we must ensure that the standard of living that our people have become accustomed to are maintained as much as possible in their retirement”

“The Cook Islands National Superannuation Fund is beneficial to the lives of workers in the Cook Islands, not detrimental. I was heartened by today’s decision, the Government recognises that there are improvements which could be made to the Act and we will look at those in the near future.

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Minister Brown welcomes the first reading of the Social Assistance Bill by the New Zealand Parliament

The Cook Islands Government welcomed the first reading of the Social Assistance Bill by the New Zealand Parliament earlier this week. 

The Bill will, if passed, would allow Cook Islanders who have lived in New Zealand for ten years, at least five after the age of 50, to return to the Cook Islands to work after they've turned 55 but still be able to collect the New Zealand Superannuation or Veteran's fund at age 65. The New Zealand Government have estimated this change will mean 245 people will become newly eligible when the bill is passed, this number likely increasing by an additional 16 people each year.

New Zealand Social Development Minister Anne Tolley, in speaking to the Bill articulated the change was restricted to the Cook Islands, Niue, and Tokelau in recognition of New Zealand's "close constitutional relationship, shared citizenship and unique legal arrangements" with realm countries like the Cook Islands.

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