Cook Islands Minister Says Referendum for UN Membership

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Cook Islands, Tingika Elikana, says a referendum is required for the population to decide whether to join the UN, separate from New Zealand.

The local government has applied for membership at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), often considered a “first step” to joining the UN. New Zealand was reportedly “supportive” of this decision.

The Cook Islands have maintained friendly relations with the UN since the 1990s, although they are not members.

Elikana said the decision to become a member of the UN was up to the general population.

The island nation is technically a part of New Zealand, making citizens of the Cook Islands also citizens of New Zealand. UN membership outside of New Zealand may change this, as it goes against a treaty currently in effect that binds the countries together.