26 Apr 2017

Cook Islands PM looks forward to working with Brownlee

6:03 pm on 26 April 2017

The Cook Islands prime minister, Henry Puna, says he is looking forward to building the same kind of friendship with New Zealand's new foreign minister as he has with the outgoing one.

The Cook Islands Prime Minister Henry Puna says the country will be a dynamic voice for the Pacific as a member of UNESCO's executive board.

Henry Puna Photo: RNZ/Daniela Maoate-Cox

Murray McCully, who has held the portfolio for the last eight years, is retiring from parliament at September's election and his replacement, Gerry Brownlee, takes over the role on Tuesday.

Mr Puna said since becoming prime minister in 2010, he had a close working relationship with Mr McCully.

He said the minister held an abiding interest in the Cook Islands, personally taking charge of significant projects such as converting the formerly fuel-dependent outer islands to renewable energy.

Foreign Minister Murray McCully attends a meeting with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Auckland on February 10, 2017.

Murray McCully Photo: AFP

"I was very impressed with McCully's own personal involvement in the project because he made sure that through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that they were very much involved in ensuring that the project was delivered in a timely manner, but also that there was strict accountability to the New Zealand taxpayers."

Mr Puna said his government had granted Mr McCully honorary Cook Islands citizenship.

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