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Called for take over Cook Islands, Niue public sector

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (RNZI, Oct. 27, 2009) - A senior Pacific studies lecturer says New Zealand Government MP John Hayes’ call for the management of some public sector activities in the Cook Islands and Niue to be centralized, bear connotations of re-colonization.

Mr. Hayes says there has to be a rethink of Wellington’s relationship with the Cook Islands, Niue and Tokelau because the current model isn’t working.

He says he’s not advocating changes to the constitutional arrangement but wants to ensure the people on the islands get the services they are entitled to.

A senior lecturer and program director of Pacific Studies at Wellington’s Victoria University, Teresia Teaiwa, says his suggestion makes sense on an economic level.

However she says it is also taking away some of the authority or autonomy from the states concerned.

"I think it would be wrong to assume also that Cook Islanders or Niueans here in New Zealand would want to be part of such a recolonizing process," said Teaiwa. "I’m not sure that everyone would feel completely comfortable with New Zealand sort of hi-jacking or re-appropriating some of the power and authority that sovereign nations are supposed to have."

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