During his ministerial statement at the start of yesterday’s first day of Parliament, Puna launched an attack on the handling of the issue of the Cook Islands campaign to be a member of the UN by two Stuff reporters, who angled their story stating that the Cook Islands was looking to give up its New Zealand citizenship.
The Prime Minister said the issue had no substance whatsoever.
“This is despite clear media statements clarifying government’s position and my position as the alleged wrongdoer in this incident.”
Puna said in the House that at a meeting with the people of the Cook Islands in New Zealand this week, he had reiterated that the Stuff story had no substance of truth.
“Indeed, I’m filing a complaint with the media council in New Zealand against the writers of this article.
“These people never gave me the courtesy of an interview or a response to questions on what they wrote in their article,” said Puna.
“And yet they have the cheek and impropriety to go ahead and print the article with allegations that some of the comments came from the Prime Minister of the Cook Islands.”
Puna said that he detected a sense of paternalism in the article.
“It is for that very reason that I will be proceeding with this complaint to the media council.
“We cannot allow anybody, let alone outsiders, treat our country like this.”
In his main ministerial statement, Puna provided context to the issue about the historical progression of the Cook Islands’ aspirations to join the United Nations, and the unchanging position of successive governments with respect to those aspirations.