The Cook Islands secretary of Foreign Affairs, Myra Patai, says the government doesn't feel that citizenship should be part of the United Nations membership discussion.
A statement from a spokesperson for the New Zealand Prime Minister, John Key, says if the Cook Islands wants UN membership, the constitutional relationship, including the current shared citizenship will need to change.
Myra Patai says there's nothing about having your own and separate citizenship in the criteria for joining the UN, and the government doesn't understand why citizenship should form part of the discussion.
"We already sit on some of these organisations as two separate members. So for example, New Zealand has its own seat at the International Maritime Organisation, IMO, as does the Cook Islands. Sometimes we have common views on certain agenda items, and sometimes we have different views. So I think it's already happening in those organisations. Why not the UN?"
Myra Patai says the Cook Islands will enrich the debate at the UN if it is able to bring its own voice and unique experiences to the table.