6 Jul 2012

Peters shocked at absences at Henry funeral in Cooks

10:50 am on 6 July 2012

The New Zealand First leader, Winston Peters, says he was seriously shocked at the lack of foreign dignitaries who paid their respects at the funeral of a former Cook Islands Prime Minister Sir Geoffrey Henry.

Sir Geoffrey died in May of cancer aged 71 while still serving as the speaker of parliament.

Speaking to the Cook Islands News in Rarotonga, Mr Peters said while transportation and the hasty arrangement meant attending the service was too difficult for some, it was crucial he attended.

He says he was surprised at the fact given the long time Sir Geoffrey served in the government and in other roles that New Zealand and Australia didn't make more of an effort.

Mr Peters, who is a former foreign minister, says his visit has helped him getting updates on issues concerning aid, foreign affairs and issues affecting locals and New Zealand residents.