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PM ‘entitled’ to first-class travel

Friday April 26, 2019 Written by Published in Politics
Cook Islands prime minister Henry Puna. Cook Islands prime minister Henry Puna.

The prime minister of the Cook Islands is entitled to first-class travel when traveling outside of the Cook Islands on official business.


However the Civil List Act 2005, does not specifically say the number of official overseas trips the PM is entitled to per year.

The trips also include non-accountable meal and incidental allowances, including accommodation at a premium hotel.

The deputy prime minister, ministers, Speaker of Parliament and Leader of the Opposition are entitled to travel Business Class with accommodation in a studio room at a four-star hotel with meals and incidentals allowances.

The Act also states all MPs are to travel Economy Class and be accommodated in a standard room at a four-star hotel and with meal and incidental allowances.

“If a member incurs any extra costs that were not covered in the submission to Cabinet e.g. transport, official communications and VISA applications etc., the production of receipt(s) as evidence of purchases is necessary to be provided to the Clerk for reimbursement claims,” the Act says.

The PM, DPM, ministers, Speaker and Leader of the Opposition shall be entitled to be accompanied by their spouse at “one time only” in any financial year, however, subject to the approval of Cabinet being first obtained, the Act says. The spouse, it adds, shall have the same entitlement as the member.

Locally, all MPs are entitled to four funded trips each year to travel from Rarotonga to their constituency.

It also includes MP for Avatiu-Ruatonga-Palmerston Albert Nicholas, who resides on Rarotonga.

The purpose for this visits has to be constituency business, says the Civil List Act.

It also states all MPs who live in their own constituencies are also entitled to the above.

An allowance of $50 per day is payable for the trip – 10 days maximum for southern group and 20 days for the northern group. The latter also applies to the MP for Avatiu-Ruatonga-Palmerston.

The Civil List Act says where a MP’s spouse accompanies him/her on the travel, the spouse shall have the same entitlement as the member.  This include two fully funded travel entitlements per annum including daily allowances.

For travel within the Cook Islands on official business, travel costs, accommodation and allowances are payable.

“If the MP and spouse is accommodated by the Island Council, public servant and any other person privately, some payment will be made directly to these people by the Office of the Clerk. A daily subsistence allowance of $50 per day is payable to Members of Parliament.”


1 comment

  • Comment Link Neil Mitchell Sunday, 28 April 2019 11:06 posted by Neil Mitchell

    I am not a great fan of Mr. Puna but as prime minister I believe he should be entitled to travel first class while attending to official Cook Islands business.