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Ardern wraps up Pacific mission

Monday March 12, 2018 Written by Published in Politics
New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern pictured with Alana Smith of Te Ipukarea Society (front) and other guests during Ardern’s visit to the TIS office on Thursday. PHOTO: TIS. 18030934 New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern pictured with Alana Smith of Te Ipukarea Society (front) and other guests during Ardern’s visit to the TIS office on Thursday. PHOTO: TIS. 18030934

New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern and her cross-party delegation spent part of their final day on Rarotonga on Thursday enjoying a tour of the lagoon near Muri Beach.

 

The tour was led by the MP for Ngatangiia, Tamaiva Tuavera. Ardern and included arty, including fellow MP Gerry Brownlee and New Zealand High Commissioner to the Cook Islands Peter Marshall.

The group travelled around the lagoon before landing at Motu Koromiri. Once on the motu, they listened to a presentation from representatives of Cook Islands Tourism.

The representatives spoke of the importance of tourism here in the Cook Islands and about how they promote “Kia Orana” values throughout the sector. Ardern also met with members of the Te Ipukarea Society on Thursday, to hear about some of the environmental work they are involved with.

The New Zealand Prime Minister and her party left Rarotonga on Thursday, wrapping up her whirlwind tour of the Pacific.

It was Ardern’s first trip as Prime Minister and she took the opportunity to pack in as many activities as possible, despite being pregnant.

The tone for this Pacific mission was set by New Zealand deputy prime minister and foreign affairs minister Winston Peters, when he said a "Pacific reset" was needed.  Jacinda Ardern referred to this reset several times during her trip and said it was about shifting from a donor-aid relationship to a true partnership.

She also made mention of the shift in pension rules for Cook Islanders. Peters has also previously stated that these islands are now "attracting an increasing number of external actors and interests", likely referring to the growing amount of aid and influence coming from non-traditional donors such as China.

And that could mean more trips like this one in the future, to ensure New Zealand maintains its strong presence in the Cook Islands and in other Pacific nations.

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