Republished from Radio New Zealand, 28 May 2019

Economic and climate resilience were key focus points of a meeting between the New Zealand and Cook Island government last week.

The 2019 Joint Ministerial Forum was held on Aitutaki and included Cook Island Prime Minister Henry Puna, his deputy Mark Brown and ministers Vaine Mokoroa and Robert Tapaitau.

The New Zealand delegation included deputy prime minister Winston Peters, cabinet minister Stuart Nash and foreign affairs undersecretary Fletcher Tabuteau.

Mr Tabuteau said the meeting focussed on a range of issues including infrastructure development, security, fisheries, the Pacific Islands Forum, climate change and health.

He said it was important for New Zealand to facilitate positive long-term outcomes in these areas.

“And actually part of the Pacific Reset conversation around the is how do we productively spend money now around resilience, sustainability , economic transformation so that in 10 years from now were not just spending another dollar on aid or recovery or things like that.”

Mr Tabuteau said there was also an emphasis on improving health support for Cook Islanders.

“How can we do more for you in terms of what do we do in New Zealand, and how can we extend that to the Cooks in a systematic way?”

It was the seventh time the meeting had been held between New Zealand the Cook Islands.