Consolidation of Government Office Facilities
The Cook Islands Government (CIG) seeks to improve the delivery of services to the public by providing the infrastructure that will support the medium term operational requirements and foreseeable changes in the long term. CIG is faced with significant inefficiencies, and ineffective government office arrangements caused by three main factors.
Public services are currently delivered from multiple locations stretching from Tupapa to Arorangi which means high administration and maintenance costs as well and unproductive time spent commuting between agencies for public servants and the public;
Public services located on both Crown land and private property face issues related to expired leases and rental agreements. Agencies situated on expiring land leases find relocation difficult and costly, and therefore remain in properties on high rental arrangements
Most buildings housing public services were constructed before 1980 and were not designed for their current use. Despite upgrades and refits, many of these buildings face a multitude of serious structural, accessibility and safety issues and do not comply with existing regulations. Further, many are vulnerable to the impacts of climate change given their location and condition.
In 2012, Cabinet directed that the Cook Islands Investment Corporation (CIIC) review accommodation options for all Ministries/Agencies currently located in non-government premises, and report to Cabinet on a plan of action to relocate the offices to Government-owned premises (CM(12)0250).
The proposed development seeks to address the inefficiencies by centralizing about 20 of the 29 Government ministries/agencies in a new office complex in central Rarotonga which is expected to result in:
- Increased staff productivity;
- Improved delivery of public services;
- Improved inter-government collaboration and networking;
- Reduced operational and maintenance costs ensuring better value for money;
- Increased public accessibility;
- Improved resilience to climate change and natural disasters, and
- Healthier work environment.
The project will also address storage and archiving deficiencies by constructing a new National Archives and Government Storage Facility in Takuvaine.
The Vaikapuangi site is considered the most viable location to build a centralised government facility. The site is rectangular in shape and is located on the Northern Coastal side of Rarotonga, in the main township of Avarua.
The site is Crown owned and believed to be sufficiently sized to meet the requirements of government. Existing buildings located on the site include the Government building known as the MFEM building, the Te Mato Vai compound, CIIC corporate and project offices, the old fruit processing factory, and two commercial operators.
It is proposed that the construction be carried out in three stages, with each stage representing a building. A total of three (3) buildings are proposed.
This staged approach allows construction to be undertaken with minimal impact to existing public services within the Vaikapuangi area. This also reduces the impact on fiscal requirements by spreading out expenditure over a longer period.
In addition, as each stage/building is complete Government Agencies are able to move into the completed buildings on a priority needs basis.
A top view of the Vaikapuangi area
Vaikapuangi Development by Stages Draft