Cook Islands Democrat Leader Critical Of Moves to Cozy Up To China

Browne says country needs to 'find our way back' to New Zealand

By Richard Moore 

RAROTONGA, Cook Islands (Cook Islands News, April 28, 2017) – The Cook Islands have moved too far away from New Zealand and “we need to find our way back”, says Democrat leader Tina Browne.

Browne says the Cook Islands has the benefit of both worlds, as a self-governing entity with New Zealand, but the nation has “failed to use our relationship with New Zealand to our best advantage”.

“We are blinded by cheap money from China and other nations but, in reality, it is not cheap money.

“We are selling our souls to these countries and will reap the cost in due time.”

The Demo leader says: “We already owe the Chinese more money than we care to tally up.

“We have lost our way because of so much begging and because the Chinese have made it easy by not only lending to us, but also doing the work for us.

“We get left with the debt and often a second-rate job that will cost a lot to fix.

“We need to work more closely with New Zealand and Australia and carry our own part of the bargain.

“They want us to succeed, but we are too lazy to do our share of the work. We want the Chinese to come and do everything for us while our people are attending seminars and workshops.

“It has got to stop and it has to start with our ministers and Members of Parliament. They need to stay here and work.

“We have moved too far away from New Zealand and we need to find our way back.”

Browne says her party will work to stop the depopulation of the Cook Islands.

“We have to bring our people back from New Zealand and Australia and help them resettle here.

“We will give them jobs that are being taken up by imported labour.

“If we do not watch out in 10 to 15 years our country will be taken over by people from overseas. Where would we be then?”

She says the Cook Islands needs to stop getting experts from overseas when there are experts here.

“We have to start owning up for our own failures and be determined to do the donkey work ourselves and not rely on others to not only fund the works, but to also do it themselves.”

She says the Demo Party will fix immigration laws and boost the immigration department to achieve those aims.

“We will then work with New Zealand to bring our people over 50 back and try to work with the New Zealand public service in areas like education, health, public works, infrastructure and a host of other things.”

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