Wellington happy to help Cook Islands join UN

(L-R) Prime Minister Mark Brown and Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta. Photo: Office of the PM, Cook Islands

The New Zealand government says the country will offer assistance if the Cook Islands bids to join the United Nations.

Cook Islands Prime Minister Mark Brown has previously said his country could pursue UN membership to become a member of the International Monetary Fund for future financing options.

New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta told Cook Islands News that it is for the Cook Islands’ Government and the people of the island group to determine what its self determination journey looks like.

She said New Zealand has signalled its willingness to engage at the appropriate time.

Mahuta said it has been clear since the United States formally recognised the Cook Islands as a sovereign nation in September, that this has opened a door for deeper and more direct engagement within the international community.

New Zealand Pacific Peoples Minister Aupito William Sio said New Zealand “will back and support the aspirations of their Pacific realm island countries in terms of self-determination”.

The Cook Islands are self-governing in free association with New Zealand. While it administers its own affairs, Cook Islanders are New Zealand citizens who are free to live and work in New Zealand.