Firstly, let’s be clear that there are two quite separate issues we have to consider; “ascension”, which is a national consideration and “citizenship”, which is personal;
On ascension, it is written into our nation’s self-government constitution approved by New Zealand that it is our choice whether or not we ascend to developed status with own seat at the UN and now that the UN has determined that we have achieved “developed” status measured on gross domestic product per capita, our options are;
1. Reject developed status accorded by the UN and remain dependent on New Zealand aid forever, which means forfeiting UN aid available to developing nations and steady as she goes on transitioning our economy to immigrant domination and ultimate takeover, revenue leakage to offshore accounts to avoid tax and keep our public sector poor and keeping our pa enua economy vacant forever. Might I suggest that those who are aid-addicted and not ashamed to remain aid-dependent forever, who want this option, to pack their bags and go to New Zealand, where they can feed on aid from the source and forget the Cook Islands ever existed.
2. Embrace developed status accorded by the UN and develop our economy to earn that status, with pride.
After all, we are only the third country with such status in our region, the other two being New Zealand and Australia. I personally support this option because as a friend pointed out in his CINews column last Saturday, we can only be a nation when we can all feed off the same table, and we are not that while our pa enua people suffer economic vacancy and cannot join our table.
3.Embrace developed status accorded by the UN and take our seat at the UN, which means forfeiting our self-government sovereignty under New Zealand’s realm and ascending to full independence and sovereignty. Might I suggest that we do not embarrass ourselves by taking this option when we are a nation divided?
In short, ascension is an opportunity presented to us by the UN to rise and develop our nation that we should grab with both hands, and make those who started our independence journey in 1965 proud. We are asset rich but cash poor, with a huge ocean that can be farmed to feed half the world and sea floor laden with minerals, so why are we waiting when we have China to help us?
On citizenship, we were born on a New Zealand protectorate platform with New Zealand citizenship tattooed on our forehead that even New Zealand cannot take off us without the UN coming down hard on it for ethnic cleansing, which of course is why New Zealand’s current government is walking beside us and not over us.
So if anyone tells you that you will lose your New Zealand citizenship and passport if our nation ascends to developed status, its fabricated rubbish. And when we do take our seat at the UN and ascend to full sovereignty, don’t be shy about picking up your Cook Islands passport as well – there’s nothing wrong with dual citizenship!