30 November 2021
Government of the Cook Islands
Te Kauono Tutara e te Mana Tiaki – Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration
Cook Islands Prime Minister Mark Brown welcomed this week’s announcement by New Zealand Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Nanaia Mahuta of a further $60 million in grant financing towards the Cook Islands economic recovery.
“This most recent assistance from the Government and people of New Zealand is gratefully appreciated particularly given New Zealand’s own challenges in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and the combined health and economic crisis in its wake,” said Prime Minister the Honourable Mark Brown. “The quantum of this assistance along with New Zealand’s unwavering support towards our COVID response efforts across a wide spectrum of areas over the last year and a half has been integral to the success of our response effort.”
The new funding includes $20 million for critical budget support and COVID response preparations ahead of the border re-opening in January 2022, as well as an investment of $40 million to the ‘Cook Islands – New Zealand Infrastructure Trust Fund’ to help stimulate the Cook Islands’ economy and strengthen its overall resilience via capital works.
“Since COVID onset, my Government has kept at the forefront of our response the health, safety, and well-being of our population which has delivered the ‘COVID free’ status we’ve been privileged to enjoy,” said Prime Minister Brown. “With more than 95% of our eligible population now doubly vaccinated, it is time to get back to business. This additional support from New Zealand will help us bolster our health response capabilities and remaining systems, workforce, industry and community preparatory efforts to once more welcome New Zealand visitors from the 13 January 2022”.
Over the coming couple of weeks, officials from both governments will iron out details relating to use of $40 million earmarked for the CKI-NZ Trust Fund overseen by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Management (MFEM) for the Cook Islands Government.
This announcement is the culmination of a series of discussions at all levels between the two governments focused on COVID-19 response and recovery which emanated from Prime Minister Brown’s mission to New Zealand in March 2021.
Further in person high level engagements between the two governments are envisaged for the first quarter of 2022, to be facilitated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration (MFAI).
Photo: Hon. Mark Brown, Prime Minister of the Cook Islands and Hon. Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand, Joint Press Conference post bilateral discussions at the Auckland War Memorial, 25 March 2021
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