More Top Stories

Rugby Union

Bigger and busier 2023: PM

31 December 2022

Rugby league

Moana target 2025 World Cup

11 November 2022

PM Brown and Australia Foreign Minister Penny Wong discuss flights and maritime surveillance

Tuesday 19 September 2023 | Written by Supplied | Published in Economy, National


PM Brown and Australia Foreign Minister Penny Wong discuss flights and maritime surveillance
Cook Islands Prime Minister Mark Brown with the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Immigration Secretary Tepaeru Herrmann, and High Commissioner to Fiji, Jim Armistead with Australia's Foreign Minister, Penny Wong at the Cook Islands High Commission in Suva this week. MFAI / 23091531.

An increase in visitor arrivals from Australia and supported direct flights between Sydney and Rarotonga were among the key discussions held between Prime Minister Mark Brown and Australia’s Foreign Minister Senator Penny Wong.

Senator Wong and Brown have met ahead of the Forum Foreign Ministers Meeting chaired by Brown in Suva, Fiji.  

With this, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration. was maritime security and surveillance cooperation, centred on the Te Kukupa II, Cook Islands Guardian Class patrol boat.

The one-year-old patrol boat, set sail from Rarotonga to Cairns, Australia late last month for repairs and maintenance.

Te Kukupa II suffered a number of defects since being gifted to the Cook Islands by the Australian Government in July 2022.

The vessel's most recent issue was a crankshaft fault, discovered when it returned from a regional fisheries surveillance operation with Tui Moana.

Meanwhile, while PM Brown and Wong were at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Leaders’ Summit in Jakarta, they also discussed several regional issues supporting ASEAN-Pacific Islands Forum co-operation, opportunities for bilateral and regional co-operation with Indonesia, finalisation of the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Implementation Plan, Forum Dialogue Partner and Engagement Mechanisms, regional security issues and the Cook Islands proposal for Pacific Partnerships for Prosperity (PPfP).

"Amongst the nine initiatives the Cook Islands is proposing as PPfP, Foreign Minister Wong confirmed Australia had already committed funding support towards preparatory work relating to the Pacific Resilience Facility and support to the Pacific Leaders' Gender Equality Declaration,” Brown said.

In relation to two other PPfP proposed initiatives, Brown and Wong also agreed there was a need to support the operationalisation of the Consultative Committee provided by the Rarotonga Treaty to support and ensure a nuclear-free Pacific, and agreed there was value in bringing together existing partners in a coordinated manner to mobilise additional resources to assist Pacific Islands countries and territories, to enhance national capabilities to protect against cyber-attacks.

Brown also met Samoa Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mataʻafa.

They also discussed flights and shipping connectivity, labour mobility, tourism, the Rarotonga Treaty and the Pacific Resilience Facility.

According to MFAI, both governments have been actively pursuing expanded flight connectivity and greater uplift, including with Fiji since Covid-19.

The two leaders also had an exchange on their respective leader summit preparations, with the Cook Islands hosting the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting in November, and Samoa preparing to host the signing of the Samoa Agreement shortly after, as well as the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in 2024.