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NZ aid response to Cook cyclone criticised

Published: 6:26PM Monday February 15, 2010 Source: ONE News

A Hercules carrying army engineers and aid supplies are due to arrive in Cyclone damaged Aitutaki on Tuesday morning, amid criticism of New Zealand's response to the crisis.

The storm stuck last Thursday, ripping roofs off houses, tearing down trees and cutting off phone and power lines.

A Cook Islands MP says New Zealand aid should have been sent to the devastated area much sooner.

"I just feel as NZ citizens sometimes, I think protocol, you know should be pushed aside and we should be treated like any other New Zealander," MP Teina Bishop said.

He says aid flowing in five days after the hurricane is a bit late and it's more the morale of people that such a response kills. 

But Prime Minister John Key is defending the NZ government actions saying the country always lives up to its obligations "whether it's a tsunami or a cyclone or whatever it might be".

Key says New Zealand's emergency response has been appropriate.

Nearly three quarters of the island's residents have been left homeless after cyclone.