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[Media Release - MFAI]

Te Kauono Tutara e te Mana Tiaki-Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Immigration


New Zealand confirm additional NZ$7million budget support towards Cook Islands Covid-19 response


25 March 2020

The New Zealand Government confirmed earlier this week an additional NZ$7million support towards the Cook Islands Covid-19 response. The funds are being provided as general budget support by New Zealand and is aimed supporting the Cook Islands respond to the wide-ranging health, economic, and social impacts of Covid-19.

“We acknowledge with deep appreciation this significant additional contribution from the Government of New Zealand which has come at a critical time as the Cook Islands focuses effort, through a whole of society approach to mitigate the impacts of Covid-19 in the Cook Islands,” said Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Mark Brown, who made mention of the commitment during his presentation of the Supplementary Budget in Parliament last night.

The funds will be managed and administered in accordance with the terms of use of funds and reporting under the letter of grant contribution to be managed by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Management (MFEM).

It is intended the funds be available to further support the preventive measures being led by Te Marae Ora – Ministry of Health to delay Covid-19 arrival to the Cook Islands and strengthen preparedness to contain and isolate its spread. Elevating clinical and diagnostic support within the Ministry of Health as well as strengthening support to the most vulnerable in our communities are other areas of need that have been identified for the funds. Alignment with the overall Covid-19 Economic Response Plan will also be pursued in the management and administration of the Fund.

Communications between the two Governments on Covid-19 responses have been active for weeks, and stepped up significantly over the last month. These are happening in Rarotonga and Wellington, at multiple levels and through an array of channels.

“The timing and modality of this further support from New Zealand, which is most welcomed, further affirms the New Zealand Government’s commitment and solidarity with the Cook Islands,” said Foreign Secretary Tepaeru Herrmann. “It speaks to the acute awareness of New Zealand of the Cook Islands circumstances, needs and priorities, its confidence in our governance and accountability mechanisms and its preparedness, despite its own Covid-19 response challenges to continue to give the Cook Islands priority consideration. We are grateful and will continue to work closely with New Zealand in the days ahead across multiple platforms and various channels to strengthen our separate and shared Covid-19 response capabilities.”

Queries regarding administration of the Fund can be directed to angelia.williams@cookislands.gov.ck

Photo: New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters and Cook Islands Deputy Prime and Minister of Finance Mark Brown in the Cook Islands Government VIP lounge March 2018 in the margins of the State Visit by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern

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