Asia

Cook Islands profile - Leader

  • 22 July 2014
  • From the section Asia

Head of state: Queen Elizabeth II, represented by a governor

Prime Minister: Henry Puna

Image caption Prime Minister Puna is a pearl farmer

Lawyer and pearl farmer Henry Puna took office in December 2010 after his Cook Islands Party won a comfortable majority in elections.

The Cook Islands Party unseated the Democratic Party which had dominated politics on the islands for the past decade.

Mr Puna's party won a two-thirds majority of the 24 seats in parliament.

Before the elections he was quoted as saying he planned to pay a $770 "baby bonus" to the mother of each child born in the Cook Islands to try reverse a steady decline in population caused by migration to New Zealand.

His government retained a narrow majority in the 2014 parliamentary elections.

Mr Puna studied law in Auckland University and the University of Tasmania before returning to practice law in the Cook Islands.