Home News and Politics Shocking Revelation: Cook Islands Remains Unfazed by Luxon’s PIF Absence?!

Shocking Revelation: Cook Islands Remains Unfazed by Luxon’s PIF Absence?!

Shocking Revelation: Cook Islands Remains Unfazed by Luxon’s PIF Absence?!

Incoming Prime Minister Christopher Luxon Skips Pacific Islands Forum, Sparks Controversy

Christopher Luxon at at AUT's Millennium campus in Rosedale, Auckland

Christopher Luxon.
Photo: RNZ / Nick Monro

Incoming New Zealand Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has faced criticism for his decision to prioritize forming a government over attending the Pacific Islands Forum this week.

Despite acknowledging the forum’s importance, Luxon opted to remain in New Zealand “to make sure we get a strong, stable government.” He has instead sent National foreign affairs spokesperson Gerry Brownlee to represent the incoming government at the forum.

Cook Islands Secretary for Foreign Affairs and Immigration, Tepearu Hermann, expressed understanding, stating that busy leaders often have to prioritize domestic considerations.

However, University of Waikato law professor Al Gillespie believes Luxon’s absence is a mistake, suggesting that attending the Pacific Islands Forum would demonstrate New Zealand’s sincerity in maintaining relationships with Pacific nations.

Due to the government’s delayed formation, outgoing Deputy Prime Minister Carmel Sepuloni will represent New Zealand at the Leaders’ Retreat, while Brownlee accompanies her.

Brownlee reassured that Luxon “was very disappointed not to be going” and emphasized the incoming government’s commitment to the Pacific. He mentioned that Luxon aims to prioritize visiting Pacific leaders soon to emphasize New Zealand’s dedication to the region.

While Brownlee attends plenary and bilateral meetings, Sepuloni is expected to endorse the implementation plan for the Forum’s 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent, addressing climate, security, and prosperity.

Although Luxon’s decision has faced criticism, political experts trust that Brownlee and Sepuloni will effectively represent New Zealand and maintain a strong relationship with the Pacific.

Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, and the Solomon Islands are also not sending their respective prime ministers to the forum, opting to send delegations instead.

Pacific politics and international relations expert Dr Iati Iati believes that face-to-face relationships are essential but acknowledges that the substance of the relationship is determined by New Zealand’s foreign policies toward the Pacific.

As Luxon’s administration works on forming the government, attention turns to the upcoming Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in San Francisco, which Luxon expressed interest in attending.

Stay tuned for more updates on New Zealand’s engagements with the Pacific and the upcoming APEC summit.


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