The Cook Islands secretary of Foreign Affairs says the country is seeking United Nations membership because it feels its voice can add value to the debate that takes place at the UN.
Myra Patai says independence has never been on the table in terms of the Cook Islands UN aspirations, and there is nothing about having your own and separate citizenship in the criteria for joining the UN.
Myra Patai says there are a number of issues of national importance at the UN table, like fisheries and marine resources, that the Cook Islands would like to add its voice to.
"I think we enrich the debate by bringing our own voices to the table. We have the experiences that will allow us to shape the debate a bit more intimately than New Zealand. Also we have evolved to the point where we are capable, and we already are conducting our own foreign policy separate to New Zealand."
Myra Patai says the Cook Islands is already a member of some UN specialised agencies, and UN membership is the next logical step.