A Cook Islands Opposition MP, James Beer, says the issue of depopulation, esepcially in the outer islands, is a very real tragedy.
Last week the Cook Islands prime minister Henry Puna told New Zealand reporters the Cook Islands does not have a serious depopulation issue.
Figures obtained from the Ministry of Finance Statistics unit show in the last four years the Cook Islands resident population has declined by 14%.
The 2011 census had the resident population at 14,974. The latest figures released by Statistics show there are 12,900 people in the Cook Islands.
James Beer, says it's disappointing that leader of the country has not done the proper research, and is dismissive of the issue.
"Most certainly in the outer islands, you will see that the issue of depopulation is a very real tragedy because houses are boarded up. People who used to live there and work and earn an income in living in those outer islands, no longer live there anymore because there's no economic activity, or very little economic activity.