New Zealand will spend up to $10 million over the next four years upgrading residential sanitation infrastructure in the Cook Islands.
Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully announced the investment sum while visiting the Muri lagoon in Rarotonga today.
"The beaches and lagoons of the Cook Islands are a major tourist draw-card on which the economy depends," Mr McCully said.
"Protecting the health of the Cook Islands' many lagoons is a priority for the Cook Islands Government and New Zealand wants to support this effort."
A statement from Mr McCully's office said about 40 per cent of the pollution entering lagoons in the Cook Islands were estimated to be from residential sources.
"New Zealand is committing up to $10 million over the next four years to complete all eligible residential septic systems across Rarotonga and Aitutaki, strengthen enforcement services, and improve water quality monitoring," Mr McCully said.