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Relationship with Cook Islands growing stronger

Relationship with Cook Islands growing stronger

New Zealand’s close relationship with the Cook Islands is in good shape and growing stronger, says Foreign Minister Winston Peters, who completed a three-day visit there today.

Mr Peters was leading a 60-person delegation consisting of MPs, business representatives, NGOs and officials.

In the Cooks Islands, Mr Peters and the MPs met Prime Minister Jim Marurai, Cabinet Ministers, other key politicians, and the Queen’s Representative Sir Frederick Goodwin.

The programme included visits to projects supported by New Zealand's international development agency NZAID. The delegation visited two secondary schools, the Trades Training Centre, a fish processing plant, and met with prominent business leaders.

Mr Peters said the delegation had gained a deeper understanding of life in the Cook Islands, which has been self-governing in free association with New Zealand since 1965.

“New Zealand and the Cook Islands share a special relationship based on strong historical and constitutional ties. It is a very warm and close relationship and it will continue to evolve and grow stronger," he said.

"Despite the strength of the relationship, further opportunities still exist for even greater cooperation on political, trade, and social issues."

Mr Peters said the recently-announced police review, led by former New Zealand Police Commissioner Rob Robinson and funded jointly by NZAID and the Cook Islands, was an example of the good cooperation already existing between the two countries.

New Zealand is the largest bilateral donor to the Cook Islands. NZAID’s aid allocation to the Cook Islands for 2005/06 was NZ$6.2 million.

ENDS

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