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[Media Release - MFAI] Immigration Bill Parliamentary Select Committee to hold public consultations

Te Kauono Tutara e te Mana Tiaki – Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration


25 May 2020


Te Kauono Tutara e te Mana Tiaki – the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration (MFAI) is encouraging all Cook Islanders to engage with the Parliamentary Immigration Bill Select Committee (IBSC) public consultations now underway. Public consultation meetings will be held in Rarotonga this week as follows:

Teau-o-Tonga – Tuesday 26th May, at the Sinai Hall, Avarua – 6:00 pm to 8.00 pm;

Puaikura – Wednesday 27th May, at the Calvary Hall, Arorangi – 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm; and

Takitumu – Thursday 28th May, at the Sunday School, Titikaveka – 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm


A copy of the bill can be accessed online and is available for download from the Parliament of the Cook Islands website at https://parliament.gov.ck/featured/public-notice-immigration-bill-2020-consultation/?fbclid=IwAR1zzzy3ReqCk216ihRlIByURv52I0tDzopC9a58dT2H9lxMO5fJZIXDYFM Copies of the Bill and its Explanatory Notes have also been made available at all the Puna stations on Rarotonga since 11 May 2020.


In tabling the bill in Parliament at the end of March this year, Prime Minister Puna who is Minister of MFAI said “A change to our Immigration legal landscape has been demanded by our people, across all segments of our society for some years now. This Government has heeded that call and is confident that the bill ensures an effective national immigration service that:

- enhances the security of our borders and therefore our people; and

- facilitates the movement of persons into and out of the Cook Islands in a manner which supports our evolving national economic, social and cultural priorities”.

Over the last 2 years, an extensive consultation process was undertaken by MFAI involving a broad cross section of Cook Islands society, in Rarotonga, the pa enua and the diaspora. MFAI Principal Immigration Officer Kairangi Samuela is particularly looking forward to the bill strengthening MFAI’s administration of the national immigration service and modernization of operations, “The new legislation and regulations have been drafted to ensure a fair, fit for purpose and future proofed framework that can accommodate future evolutions in available technology and the legal fora whilst preserving the foundation values and interests of our country and society”.

The IBSC comprises the following members of parliament - Chairperson Mac Mokoroa; Deputy Chairperson Vaitoti Tupa and members Tai Tura, Tina Browne, Tehani Brown, Patrick Arioka and Tamaiva Tuavera.

“We would encourage all Cook Islanders to engage with the IBSC public consultations presently underway,” said MFAI Secretary Tepaeru Herrmann. “The Covid-19 pandemic we and all countries are grappling has amplified the national and global significance of immigration. Immigration goes to the heart of the national security of a people and country – in managing people risks and maintaining the integrity of our borders and in supporting our broader economic, social and cultural national development agenda, including the contributions of our contract workers and international communities to our society”.


The IBSC have been given until end of September by Parliament to report back to Parliament on the Bill. Expressions of interest for submissions on the Immigration bill can be emailed or delivered to the Committee Secretary, Margret Numanga, email contact – margret@cookislands.gov.ck

Queries regarding this media release can be directed to the PIO at kairangi.samuela@cookislands.gov.ck


Photos:

1 April 2020, Cook Islands Parliament - MFAI PIO Kairangi Samuela and MFAI Secretary Tepaeru Herrmann presenting to the IBSC;

2 April 2020, Cook Islands Parliament photo credit - IBSC members – Seated L-R: Tina Browne; Chairperson Mac Mokoroa; IBSC Secretary Margret Numanga; Standing L-R: Patrick Arioka; Deputy Chairperson Vaitoti Tupa; Tama Tuavera and Tai Tura;

3 March 2020, Cook Islands Parliament - Secretary Herrmann and PIO Samuela awaiting the tabling of the Immigration Bill at the March sitting of Parliament

4 April 2020 – interview of PIO Samuela and Secretary Herrmann post presentation and Q & A session with IBSC

https://www.facebook.com/cookislands.parliament/videos/581069789431100/?__tn__=%2Cd%2CP-R&eid=ARCM9Sx3k_AblINhr0ZidqIlqxhtZXgjZS5w6f8_AKUt6XlHXqUt4fPmd7BN6LyDswv4hwDaiYPrPkUY


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