Beer should apologise: Finance minister

Friday March 16, 2018 Published in Letters to the Editor
Prime minister Henry Puna and finance minister Mark Brown pictured with New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern and deputy prime minister Winston Peters in Wellington in December. 17121548 Prime minister Henry Puna and finance minister Mark Brown pictured with New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern and deputy prime minister Winston Peters in Wellington in December. 17121548

Dear Editor,

James Beer wrote an open letter to the prime minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern which was published in CINews on Saturday. 

The letter should have included an apology to her for making false statements about what she actually discussed in her meetings with our own PM Henry Puna in Wellington in December. 

James Beer has on numerous occasions in the media stated that the meeting between included discussions on Cook Islands membership of the UN. 

Despite our strong denials, James Beer stated that he had a source in the meeting that confirmed we had asked for UN membership and were unceremoniously shot down. 

I basically said that he had lied and that no such discussions had taken place. Now I read in the CI news release of Monday March 12, the statements made by prime minister Ardern when she ws asked if the UN membership issue was discussed in our December meeting. She categorically stated that no such discussions had taken place. 

This a direct statement from the New Zealand prime minister herself. This seems to make James Beer a liar - or perhaps he was fooled by his anonymous source.  James and his boss Wilkie Rasmussen should publicly apologise for misleading the public and making false statements in the media.

He insinuated we were not telling the truth, and worse still he insinuated that the New Zealand prime minister was a party to his false statements. 

He should pay for another full page advertisement apologising to the New Zealand Prime Minister Ardern for saying she was involved in discussions on the UN that never took place.

He should also apologise for misleading the Cook Islands people and for his numerous false statements, now proven to be just that by the prime minister of New Zealand.

            Mark Brown

            Minister of Finance


James Beer responds:

Dear Editor

New Zealand prime minister Ardern is right, the UN matter was never raised with her in that meeting, and Mark Brown knows I never said that it was.

I made that point quite clear in my original letter on this subject. It was raised in a meeting with a New Zealand minister quite separate from the meeting between the New Zealand prime minister and our PM and Mark Brown. My original letter on the matter was to use that December meeting as a reference point and the other, to question their motives for excluding a member of the Opposition from the delegation to New Zealand. But Brown knows this.

To assist Brown recollect that particular meeting, the answer given to him from this minister was, “If you want a seat at the UN give us back our citizenship and passport”.

I will certainly not become indecisive and reveal who that minister was - that is beside the point. But I will reiterate what I said then, that this person has much more credibility than Mark Brown could ever muster in his lifetime. In other words, I would believe him over Mark Brown in a heartbeat!

I suspect the reason the Cook Islands Party in Government never raised this with the New Zealand delegation on their recent visit here was because they already had their answer.

And, as prime minister Ardern correctly pointed out in an interview with this newspaper last week, an application to be members of the UN has to be done by a “sovereign nation”, which means we will no longer have access to New Zealand Passports and citizenship. These are not New Zealand’s rules but those requirements by the UN for countries attempting to become members.

I say again, the whole idea of dual citizenship applies only to individuals not to a country, it is a meaningless term in that context and Mark Brown’s bizarre attempt to be part of the UN on those grounds would be extremely farcical.

Far better for this government to stop wasting tax payers money on their UN attempt ( there have already been many thousands spent ) and come back to earth, we have the most shocking roads, infrastructure works is way behind schedule allegations of corrupt practices abound in the country and people are continuing to leave.

As for Wilkie being my boss, what pettiness to include such shallowness in such an important debate about sovereignty and their United Nation aspirations.

            James Beer

            Opposition Spokesperson on Finance and Economy.

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