2 Oct 2020

Retired Cooks leader says orderly exit planned for two years

3:55 pm on 2 October 2020

The former Cook Islands prime minister, Henry Puna, says his unprecedented decision to step down was about transitioning leadership and has gone as planned,

The prime minister of the Cook Islands, Henry Puna.

Former Cook Islands PM, Henry Puna Photo: RNZ / Jamie Tahana

He was replaced yesterday by his former deputy, Mark Brown.

Puna was now vying to become the Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum, but said this had nothing to do with his move.

He said he always felt that any change at the top, in both party and prime minister, should be done as smoothly as possible.

Puna and and his staff had been working on a transition for years.

"I had indicated way back in 2018 that when the time comes, probably halfway through our term, our four year term, that I would consider stepping down to make way for new blood, and for the new leader who would be coming in, to give him enough time to get himself and his new administration established in time for the next elections in 2022," Puna said.