UN membership has heavy price for our people

Tuesday October 17, 2017 Published in Letters to the Editor

If our government still wishes to pursue its United Nations ambitions, it is clear that Cook Islanders will have to forfeit their New Zealand citizenship.


That’s the position that has continually been advised by “Big Brother” New Zealand’s former prime ministers, Helen Clark and John Key, as well as the present administration.

And that position will not change, because Cook Islanders will never support it!

When the United Nations during the 1960s forced New Zealand and colonialist countries globally, to allow their charges to be responsible for their own destinies, many former colonies chose full independence.

Since that time many of our sister islands have regretted their rash decision to become independent and have known only economic and social struggle. In most cases, poverty and government corruption have added to their economic and social ills.

Demo MP James Beer told Radio Matariki FM’s William Framhein last week on his morning session, that a fellow MP from Samoa had told him that if they could do it again, they would not have chosen independence. Instead they would have chosen self-government in free association with New Zealand, “like your country did!”

Perhaps Samoa should be given “our privilege.” At least they’d cherish it! And we Cook Islanders, both here in the Cook Islands and in Aotearoa New Zealand, and Australia and other points around the globe, ought to acknowledge and give a prayer of thanks to our whanau and administrators who were rather clever in requesting this unique governing system and New Zealand citizenship. It was granted only to the Cook Islands, Niue and Tokelau. Today, many other countries can only wish that they had been extended the same privilege.

So now, the issue of dual citizenship has now come to the fore, where “Big Brother” is simply expected to acquiesce to what Finance minister Mark Brown considers is a straightforward procedure to acquire dual citizenship, as if we have that right. We don’t, because we are New Zealand citizens by extended privilege only!

Where is the consideration to “Big Brother” regarding the benefits for all Cook Islanders and our country’s economy and infrastructure, over the past 52 years of self-government and free association? For us to enjoy this privilege (not a right), there are fundamental conditions that we have been aware of for many years. One of them: If Cook Islanders want a seat at the UN, they have no choice but to give up New Zealand citizenship.

Mark Brown’s talk of dual citizenship as a “do-able” option and his assertion that “Big Brother” will just agree with it, is a rich one, because most Cook Islanders here and abroad, really, really don’t support your government’s UN seat bid at all.

Give us a referendum to sort this out once and for all. Of course we will also ask “Big Brother” and our Aotearoa Cook Islands whanau to assist us in this endeavour, just so that we know we’ll have transparency, responsibility and accountability.

Perhaps you should forfeit your citizenship eh?  Our self-governing history since 1965 leaves a lot to be desired, because history shows that those who governed our tiny paradise “Te Ipukarea” (actually, “misgoverned” is a more appropriate word), really had no idea what they were doing.

And then we come to the 1990s, when “Big Brother” brought in Lloyd Powell to work his economic magic wand, which he did to great effect, because we had bankrupted ourselves. The then-government’s over-bloated Public Service was severely downsized as a result, which caused many to go to New Zealand and Australia for jobs to pay for their mortgages here, while the rest sought employment in the private sector, or started their own businesses.

For many, it was like starting anew and afresh. Now our destiny really was in our own hands, simply because our government really was that incompetent.

Let’s hope that future governments will learn from Lloyd Powell’s intervention, and not bankrupt us again as a result of continued mismanagement. Now, in late 2017, there’s a sense of deja vu, because here we have “Big Brother” again helping our very own MFEM, yes, again as a result of our government’s arrogant mismanagement and economic hocus pocus incompetence.

Time to get a real job guys, because in my opinion, you still don’t know what you’re doing! 

            Papa Williams  


1 comment

  • Comment Link JOHN URI Wednesday, 18 October 2017 19:57 posted by JOHN URI

    UN seat not an option

    Any ambition for a UN seat should not be encouraged nor condoned. The consequences for the Cooks will be enormous, and one that it will regret in the years to come. The fact that the Cooks have been offered self governing status (by the NZ government) before 1965, should not be seen as an event to be cheered for. What benefits did the Cooks receive for the years 1901 - 1964, the period legally colonized by the NZ government? Where was the economic evidence that NZ left behind for the Cooks, after steering its way out, and not particularly conforming to the wishes of the UN. The NZ government were warned on several occasions by the UN, not to speed up the de-colonisation process but to allow a smooth transition to give our country time to familiarize themselves with the process of ruling, using the Westminster system (That is why we experienced corruption and nepotism beginning from the first PM and downwards). It became increasingly clear that the NZ government preferred to pull out immediately so as to reduce a significant proportion of funds normally intended for economic development for the Cooks. One can imagine that no sooner had NZ left, our country became beggars overnight. We were treated like aliens, and had to beg for funds to continue the process of self government.

    The Cooks have very little economic viability other than the small agricultural and fishing sector. Tourism will soon become irrelevant except for the few tourists who are visiting due to their curiosity of the country. The country's population is shrinking while more foreign workers are continuing a rise in the services industry - because our pay rate appears better than their country. The outer islands are a particular concern because of the increase rate of out migration either to Raro or overseas. So, I can't imagine the Cooks ever seeking full independence from NZ. The preferred option is to seek full re-integration with NZ because that is the only way forwards for the Cooks. The decolonization process, including the option offered to our country for self governing, was a mistake. Had NZ played a true and genuine partner since 1965, the Cooks would have continued to improve its economy enormously. And our views (on NZ) will have been different now. Henry Puna's ambition for a UN seat for the Cooks at one point, was in my view, ill advised. I think the country will need to forge strong partnership with China, Japan and European countries in order to stay afloat.

    (Morning John)

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