Prime Minister, Chris Hipkins has confirmed New Zealand will provide NZ$15 million in emergency budget support for Cook Islands in its ongoing recovery from the impacts of COVID-19.
New Zealand’s support was confirmed during a meeting with the Cook Islands Prime Minister, Mark Brown in Papua New Guinea today.
“New Zealand and the Cook Islands share a special relationship,” Mr Hipkins said.
“This support is provided in response to the needs of a close, constitutional partner which continues to face extreme economic challenges as a result of COVID-19.
“The Cook Islands Government is managing its country’s recovery impressively, but an unprecedented 41% economic contraction from COVID-19 can’t be underestimated.”
The funding is being drawn from existing MFAT international assistance and will assist the Cook Islands Government in continuing to deliver essential services.
During today’s meeting, Prime Ministers Hipkins and Brown also discussed their countries’ bilateral relationship and shared regional priorities.
“Across the region, climate change remains the most significant threat to Pacific lives and livelihoods,” Mr Hipkins said.
“Prime Minister Brown and I took the opportunity to discuss the enduring challenges caused by climate change, New Zealand’s recovery from Cyclone Gabrielle and our approaches to climate finance.
“The Cook Islands perspective is particularly valuable, with this year’s Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting to be hosted in Rarotonga and chaired by Prime Minister Brown,” he said.