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New Zealand Ministers reaffirm Cook Islands connection

Tuesday 6 February 2024 | Written by Candice Luke | Published in Economy, Local, National, New Zealand, Regional


New Zealand Ministers reaffirm Cook Islands connection
Winston Peters. Photo: RNZ / Tim Collins

New Zealands Foreign Minister Winston Peters, and Health Minister and Minister for Pacific Peoples Dr Shane Reti are reaffirming the importance of New Zealand’s connections to the Pacific.

The Ministers will meet with Prime Minister Mark Brown, and visit New Zealand-supported activities.

Ministers Peters and Reti will be in Rarotonga for 24 hours, arriving by New Zealand Defence Force aircraft on Tuesday night.

A reception will be held at the New Zealand High Commissioner’s Residence at Ngātipā on Wednesday evening.

Peters is well travelled in the region, visiting communities and constituents as Foreign Minister. For Dr Reti, the trip to the Cook Islands, Tonga and Samoa this week is his first as the Minister for Pacific Peoples. 

“New Zealand enjoys strong and long-standing relationships with our Pacific partners - especially in Polynesia, where we have close political, economic, and people-to-people ties,” Peters said.  

“This trip is an opportunity for New Zealand to continue to strengthen and progress our bilateral cooperation with Cook Islands, Tonga and Samoa while supporting each country’s respective development goals.

“Given New Zealand’s place and influence in the region, our visit will also reinforce our commitment to collectively responding to the many — and varied — strategic issues and challenges facing both the Pacific, and the wider Indo-Pacific,” Peters said.

Minister Reti said he is pleased to undertake a visit to Polynesia, representing both his portfolios.

The Health Minister will meet with officials to discuss New Zealand’s role in working together to deliver on long-term health priorities, both nationally and regionally. Talks will focus on the impact of Covid-19 in the Pacific.

“New Zealand has deep and longstanding cultural links with the Cook Islands, Samoa and Tonga, and I am looking forward to reinforcing those, as well as discussing the shared issues our communities face in New Zealand and the Pacific, particularly in health.”