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Like other Pacific countries, the priorities for Cook Islands right now are maintaining the country’s Covid-free status and safe economic recovery, said Cook Islands High Commissioner to New Zealand, Elizabeth Wright-Koteka.
Wright-Koteka made these comments while at the Pacific Heads of Missions and regional development partners meeting hosted by the Australian High Commission.
She said Cook Islands is largely reliant on tourism and the effects of Covid-19 have been felt far and wide, impacting everyone from big commercial tourism operators, to small business owners’ dependant on tourism foot traffic to sustain their day to day business operations.
Wright-Koteka also highlighted the importance that will be placed on economic diversification.
“Our Government has provided a comprehensive, three phased economic recovery packages to help alleviate the effects that Covid-19 is having on our people,” she said.
However, she said that these were short term measures.
She said it was becoming increasingly clear that a sustainable economy is one which is not solely reliant on a vulnerable, single-sector source of income.
“We look forward to continuing discussions with our partners to address both our immediate, as well our longer-term economic recovery and rebuild.”
Wright-Koteka said she was pleased to have join Cook Islands development partners and the Australian High Commissioner Patricia Forsythe, bringing together Pacific government representatives to discuss priorities for Covid-19 recovery with key development partners active in the region.
Partners present at the meeting were the Ambassadors for the United States of America, France, and Japan, as well as representatives from the Canadian and British High Commissions and the Deputy Secretary for New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade Jonathan Kings.
“I’m very grateful to the Australian High Commissioner for providing myself and other Pacific Heads of Missions a platform to discuss Covid-19 recovery pathways with our key development partners,” Wright-Koteka added.
The High Commissioner has also said discussions between Cook Islands and development partners are ongoing, both within New Zealand as well as Cook Islands, led by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration, with closer co-operation and increased engagement expected in the coming months.
SOURCE: COOK ISLANDS NEWS/PACNEWS
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