13 Mar 2012

Cooks call to review free association arrangement with New Zealand

7:21 pm on 13 March 2012

The Cook Islands finance minister says he would like the free entry arrangement it has with New Zealand reexamined as the country's population continues to shrink.

The Cook Islands, Niue and Tokelau are part of the New Zealand realm and their citizens travel on New Zealand passports.

Mark Brown, who is in Wellington, says the ease with which Cook Islanders can emigrate to New Zealand has resulted in depopulation and led to a limited labour force.

"Out of the countries that are getting significant depopulation the three of the New Zealand realm countries are the ones most affected so maybe it is time that we put a debate on and see what people's thoughts are about the arrangement that we have of free entry into New Zealand and whether that should be relooked at."

The Cook Islands' Minister of Finance, Mark Brown.