Henry Puna

Cooks anti-homosexual laws targeted

Homosexual acts in the country are punishable with a prison term of up to five years.

Te Tiare Association supports lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and says the newly-launched United Nations Pacific Free and Equal campaign has sparked a conversation about acceptance.

Its secretary, Valentino Wichman, says there has been minimal opposition to its plans to repeal laws that criminalise homosexuality.

Puna challenges Cooks diaspora to help country

Mr Puna is in New Zealand as an official guest of the Government to celebrate the 50th anniversary of self government in free association with New Zealand

He says because Cook Islanders, as New Zealand citizens, are free to travel to New Zealand and Australia, they can't be stopped from travelling.

Cooks' PM criticises NZ on climate change

The New Zealand government has pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 30 percent below the level of 2005 by 2030.

The Australian government has a similar target, with plans to cut carbon emissions by at least 26 percent of 2005 levels by 2030.

When asked about New Zealand and Australia's emissions targets, Henry Puna said it's up to New Zealand and Australia to decide what is good for them.

He says the important thing is that they come together regularly to talk about those difficult issues.

Gay rights gain support online in Cook Islands

The support comes following an article in CI News on Monday in which Prime Minister Henry Puna said he would not be following the United Nations’ ‘free and equal’ campaign.

Prime Minister Henry Puna first expressed opposition to the legalisation of same-sex marriage on April 28, 2013.

Following the legalisation of same-sex marriage in New Zealand, PM Puna said his government would not be following New Zealand's move.

Cook Islands PM not jumping on same-sex bandwagon

His comments come in response to the United Nations new campaign calling for action on homophobia and transphobia in the Pacific Islands.

Puna says the Cook Islands shouldn’t just follow what the UN or the international community is doing.

“We have our own community here, and we need to be guided by our own people as to what we want to do in response to those pressures.”

The UN is hoping governments in the Pacific will adopt active measures to make sure people’s perception of LGBTIs change, for example by working closely with schools and health care facilities.

Cooks celebrates 50 years of self-government

Wednesday is Constitution Day in the Cook Islands and New Zealand has brought a large delegation to mark the start of its special relationship with the country.

The waterfront in Rarotonga has been heaving as crowds gather for traditional dancing and speeches, with guests called from all over the Cooks' far-flung islands.

New Zealand's large delegation has been attending a special prayer service.

Tongan PM attends Cook Islands 50th Independence celebrations in Rarotonga

The invitation was made to Prime Minister Pohiva by his Cook Islands counterpart, Henry Puna.

Information from the Prime Minister's Office says the Government of Tonga established diplomatic relation with the Government of the Cook Islands in August 2014. 

This visit will further strengthen the friendship and cooperation newly established diplomatic relation between the two countries.

The Prime Minister is accompanied by the Chief Secretary & Secretary to Cabinet Dr. Palenitina Langa'oi.

PM Puna keen to discuss ‘super’ rules with NZ PM Key

The proposed changes directly affect the Cook Islands, Niue and Tokerau which are part of the Realm of New Zealand.

Key is scheduled to arrive on Rarotonga this afternoon with a large contingent from New Zealand. Puna hopes by having ‘bilateral discussions’ with Key during his visit here the Cook Islands government may learn what those reasons were.

Cooks PM keen to pursue talks with NZ on UN membership

Key is in Rarotonga for the 50th year celebrations of the Cooks free association deal with New Zealand.

Puna says applying the same innovative thinking of 50 years ago could also deliver UN membership and the retention of New Zealand citizenship for Cook Islanders.

He says the 1965 arrangement was the first of its kind in the world and the Cook Islands has historically done things ahead of everybody else.

He stresses he is mindful of being careful and how far the Cook Islands can push the issue.

Cook Islands to decide on compulsory retirement age

There's currently no mandatory retirement age in public service legislation or policy, although Cook Islanders are eligible for the old age pension at 60.

Prime Minister Henry Puna has said he wants to commence a process of regenerating the public service, to provide better opportunities for younger Cook Islanders.

In June, the government announced a one-off voluntary retirement package for public servants aged 60 and over in a bid to free up government positions.