Independence will shut doors

Friday October 20, 2017 Published in Letters to the Editor
The Cook Islands’ fi rst premier, Albert Henry, addresses the United Nations “Decolonisation Committee of Twenty-four” during the latter part of August 1965 in New York. The Cook Islands became self-governing in association with New Zealand on August 4 that year. PHOTO: Howard Henry Collection 17101929 The Cook Islands’ fi rst premier, Albert Henry, addresses the United Nations “Decolonisation Committee of Twenty-four” during the latter part of August 1965 in New York. The Cook Islands became self-governing in association with New Zealand on August 4 that year. PHOTO: Howard Henry Collection 17101929

For the information of our iti tangata, let’s be clear about our status.

 

If our politicians pursue independence, the New Zealand government has already said it means we will lose New Zealand citizenship. Finis, kaput, sayonara, ta kore.

John Key said so when he was New Zealand prime minister. Apparently so did his predecessor, Helen Clark.

It was a plain statement of the obvious by prime ministers of their day while they were in office.

Another way to consider the position in terms of international law.

In international law, it is the sovereign right of each independent state to grant or deny entry, residency or citizenship to persons not of that sovereign state.

New Zealand is a sovereign state. The Cook Islands is another country.

The Cook Islands has a longstanding relationship with New Zealand by virtue of its annexation by New Zealand in 1901. This was modified as time went by and we were granted free association with New Zealand, even after we were granted self-government status in 1965.

We are thus extremely fortunate to retain the legal status of being New Zealand citizens. That is for now. But the danger is that if our government continues to bleat on about independence, New Zealand may call our (political) bluff and cut us loose. Consider it a divorce.

That’s not what the Cook Islands people want. We want to retain our links with New Zealand and to remain honorary Kiwis. We are aware of the great privilege of New Zealand citizenship and the passport and other privileges that go with that citizenship.

I checked online and found the New Zealand passport is ranked fifth in the world in terms of acceptance for entry into other countries around the world.

By the way, be aware that if we forfeit our New Zealand citizenship and passport, Australia’s position is likely to be harsh. Restrictions on immigration to Australia are already quite harsh (think detention centres in Manus and in Nauru).

Australians are quite xenophobic and have become intolerant of Kiwi immigrants (they say they think the New Zealanders are stealing their jobs).

Some long-time Kiwi residents are finding they have few rights to assistance from the Australian government. Some even face deportation to New Zealand on certain grounds. I believe that will be our fate, too.

Do not allow our politicians to forfeit our New Zealand citizenship by pursuing independence. It is political madness.

            Concerned Citizen

            (Name and address supplied)

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