Cook Islands Infrastructure Trust Fund
The Infrastructure Trust Fund (ITF) is a mechanism whereby the New Zealand Government can provide support to the Cook Islands Government (CIG) in implementing infrastructure investment.
The trust fund, at any time and from time to time, consist of initial and subsequent amounts settled upon the Cook Islands Infrastructure Trust Fund by New Zealand, Cook Islands and other donors and investment returns, less distributions from the trust fund made or authorised by the Trustee under the Policy Arrangement.
In December 2019, New Zealand, acting by and through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) provided a gift to the Cook Islands, acting by and through the Ministry of Finance and Economic and Management of NZD12,000,000 to establish the Cook Islands Infrastructure Trust Fund.
In March 2022, the New Zealand Government made a further grant contribution of $40 million to the Infrastructure Trust Fund to help stimulate the Cook Islands’ economy and strengthen its overall resilience via capital works.
This money, and all other money settled upon the Cook Islands Infrastructure Trust Fund for the trust purposes is to be held in trust as trust money of the kind specified in section 46 (1) (d) of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Management Act 1995-96 under Part X of the MFEM Act. The purposes of the trust is to:
Investing in physical infrastructure to deliver essential services to Cook Islanders;
Facilitating implementation of the National Infrastructure Investment Pipeline or Medium-Term Fiscal Strategy; and
Supporting capability development of Cook Islands infrastructure sector across government and the private sector
The governance documents for the Cook Islands Infrastructure Trust Fund are:
Rarotonga International Airport Slab Project
Rarotonga International Airport was constructed in the early seventies and was officially opened in January 1974. Since then, this airport has become the most primary gateway for the Cook Islands to the rest of the world, and is integral to the tourism industry of the country, servicing flights from Auckland, Sydney and Los Angeles (outside of COVID-19 restricted travel times), as well as the domestic market.
Avarua Town Plan and Punanganui Market Project
Te Tau Papa o Avarua: Avarua Town Plan sets out a program of infrastructure and landscaping activities to be carried out in Rarotonga’s main central business district (CBD); Avarua. The project area lies between Avarua Wharf and the Rarotonga Airport. Project initiatives encompass Avarua Town, the Punanga Nui Market (PNM) and Panama Reserve and propose to:
Greatly improve walkways, lighting, pedestrian accessibility and safety
Enrich the landscape with a variety of local flora to create a colour-filled aesthetic charm
Entice and promote greater use of public spaces and facilities
Redevelop existing public toilet facilities for a more comfortable end-user experience
Restructure and future-proof the PNM to open up greater potential for maintainable economic growth; and
Ultimately, support and help facilitate “Improved health and wellbeing” for all.