Questions Raised Over Cooks Finance Minister Travel Bill

Questions Raised Over Cooks Finance Minister Travel Bill

Leaked documents reveal US$38K in less than 11 months

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, September 1, 2015) – Leaked documents reveal the Cook Islands Finance Minister, Mark Brown, has spent about $US38,000 on travel over the last 11 months.

The documents show between August 2014 and June 2015, Mr Brown went on nine official trips abroad and one to Mauke for the Manea Games.

The most expensive trip was for an Asian Development Bank board of governors meeting in Azerbaijan.

The 12-day trip cost about $US20,000, with airfares alone for Mr Brown and his wife just over $US17,000 dollars.

Cabinet ministers are entitled to business class travel and to take their wives on one trip each year.

Successive governments have defended the cost of international travel to attend meetings, on the premise that the Cook Islands needs to maintain an international presence to put the country’s case at every opportunity.