19 Jun 2015

Call for NZ to review position on Cooks UN membership

6:54 am on 19 June 2015

A former Cook Islands foreign minister says the New Zealand government should be more open to the Cook Islands wish to join the United Nations.

The Cook Islands Prime Minister, Henry Puna, plans to continue talks with the New Zealand Prime Minister, John Key, regarding his government's hopes of becoming a UN member.

Cook Islands PM, Henry Puna

Cook Islands PM, Henry Puna Photo: AFP

Former foreign minister, Wilkie Rasmussen, says the crux of the problem is that New Zealand ties UN membership together with the issue of independence.

Former Cook Islands Foreign Minister , Wilkie Rasmussen

Former Cook Islands Foreign Minister , Wilkie Rasmussen Photo: RNZI/Cook Islands News

But he says the Cook Islands government sees UN membership and independence as two separate issues, and John Key should review New Zealand's position on this.

"I think New Zealand needs to be open minded and should not continue the kind of over-bearing threat of Cook Islanders losing their citizenship. "

Wilkie Rasmussen says New Zealand needs to treat the Cook Islands a lot more seriously on the international stage.