18 Apr 2016

Claims Cooks govt has misled people over EU fishing deal

4:46 am on 18 April 2016

There are claims in the Cook Islands that the people have been misled by the government over the European Union purse seine fishing agreement.

The government has been repeatedly advised by its own officials that the draft agreement contains fatal flaws that cannot be changed.

Our correspondent says this information is in an email from the foreign affairs secretary Tepaeru Herrmann to the finance minister Mark Brown, and various government officials.

Mr Brown and prime minister Henry Puna have continuously denied the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement is a done deal because, although endorsed by cabinet, it hasn't been signed by Mr Puna.

But Ms Herrmann's email points to a very different picture.

It also shows how advice from foreign affairs on the flaws was ignored and not included in the supposed revision of the text by the Cooks government before it was initialled by the secretary of the Ministry of Marine Resources, Ben Ponia, last year in Brussels.

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