Julian Assange arrested at Ecudorian Embassy in London

There have been stories about Julian Assange’s imminent exit from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London after a seven year stay there avoiding legal actions . He has just left the Embassy after Ecuador withdrew his asylum, to be arrested by UK police for he was found guilty of failing to surrender to the court.

BBC- Julian Assange: Wikileaks co-founder arrested in London

Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange has been arrested at the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

Assange took refuge in the embassy in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden over a sexual assault case that has since been dropped.

At Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Thursday he was found guilty of failing to surrender to the court.

He now faces US federal conspiracy charges related to one of the largest ever leaks of government secrets.

The UK will decide whether to extradite Assange, in response to allegations by the Department for Justice that he conspired with former US intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to download classified databases.

He faces up to five years in US prison if convicted on the charges of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion.

Assange’s lawyer Jennifer Robinson said they would be fighting the extradition request. She said it set a “dangerous precedent” where any journalist could face US charges for “publishing truthful information about the United States”.

A Twitter thread on Assange’s court appearance.

Asked his name Assange says “My name is Julian Paul Assange”

The court is told Julian Assange was arrested this morning in two warrants

The court is hearing the history of the Swedish sexual offences case through the UK courts, and how after his appeal failed Julian Assange entered the Ecuadorean embassy in June 2012 in breach of his bail

Assange was arrested this morning on a warrant arising from that breach of bail

The second warrant relates to an extradition request from the US issued in Dec 2017 (issued by the District Judge presiding over today’s case)

The court is hearing how Julian Assange was arrested at 10.15 this morning

Officers tried to introduce themselves but he barged past them. He resisted and shouted “this is unlawful”. He had to be restrained and officers struggled to handcuff him. He shouted again “This is unlawful, I am not leaving” as he was led to the police van.

Julian Assange is told that one charge he faces is that he failed to surrender on 29th June 2012. He pleads “not guilty”

He is told that the US warrant says that between Jan 2010 and July 2010 he conspired with Chelsea Manning to “effectuate” unauthorised disclosure.

The court is now discussing whether Julian Assange has to give evidence to explain why he failed to surrender to bail

Julian Assange will not give evidence

Julian Assange’s lawyer says that District Judge Emma Arbuthnot who heard this case at previous hearings should have recused herself because of “bias”

District Judge Michael Snow tells the defence it is “unacceptable in front of a packed press gallery to traduce the reputation of the senior District Judge”. He says it is “grossly unfair”

District Judge Michael Snow finds Julian Assange guilty of failing to surrender

That was quick, but I guess it’s obvious that’s what he did.

He says Julian Assange’s behaviour is “the behaviour of a narcissist who cannot get beyond his own selfish interest”

He sends Julian Assange to the Crown Court for sentencing as the offence was so serious

The US Justice Dept describes the charge Julian Assange faces as “conspiracy to commit computer intrusion”, saying the charge carries a maximum sentence of 5 years in prison

Another person in custody for “making or copying objectionable material” after Christchurch attacks

There has been a third arrest (that I’m aware of) for “knowingly making or copying objectionable material”, with a Christchurch schoolboy being remanded in custody.

NZ Herald:  Christchurch teen arrested for objectionable material after mosque terror attacks

A Christchurch schoolboy has been arrested for objectionable material after the mosque terror attacks.

The teenager cannot be named because of legal reasons. His school is also protected from being made public.

The boy appeared in the Youth Court in Christchurch yesterday. He faces one charge of knowingly making or copying objectionable material.

He was refused bail and was remanded in custody.

He is due back in court next month.

The Herald understands police were alerted after concerns about the boy’s behaviour.

All three reported as arrested have been remanded in custody, which seems harsh given the charges, but all of them seem to have been involved in more than just copying or distributing the mosque shootings video or the killer’s manifesto (in the latest case it isn’t clear what material was involved but the presumption is it is related to the mosque shootings).

There have been other unrelated cases appear before the courts since the Christchurch terror attacks.

An 18-year-old Christchurch student, who has interim name suppression, has also been charged with distributing a livestream and of showing a photograph of the Deans Ave mosque where 42 Muslims were shot dead with the message “target acquired” and further online messaging allegedly inciting extreme violence.

Christchurch businessman Philip Neville Arps, 44, appeared in court appeared in court last week on charges of distributing footage of one of the mosque shootings.

Arps, who runs an insulation business, faces two charges of distributing the livestream “of the multiple murder victims at the Deans Ave Mosque”.

The alleged offending occurred on March 16, the day after the shootings at two Christchurch mosques, in which 50 people died and dozens were injured.

More on Arps:  Nazi-themed company owner charged with possessing objectionable material

Beneficial Insulation, which Arps owns, features a number of Nazi-related themes in its name and branding.

The company’s white extremist branding and Arps’ racist views, which he promotes online, sparked a public outcry in the wake of the mass shooting in Christchurch that left 50 people dead with another 30 still in hospital.

Stuff has also sighted an angry email from Beneficial Insulation owner Phil Arps sent to a customer which was signed off with a false Adolf Hitler quote and featured right wing extremist views.

Beneficial Insulation’s company logo is a sunwheel, or black sun, which was appropriated by Nazis.

Beneficial Insulation also charges $14.88 per metre for insulation – 14.88 is a hate symbol popular with white extremists.

The company’s website www.BIIG.co.nz, is an acronym for the company’s full name Beneficial Insulation Installs Guaranteed. BIIg was the name of a barracks at Auschwitz concentration camp, operated by Nazi Germany in occupied Poland during World War II and the Holocaust.

The company’s staff wear camouflage print uniform.

Being remanded in custody means that the police, the prosecutor and judges all considered it appropriate in the circumstances. Without knowing all the details it is not possible to know whether this is concerning or not.

There have been other arrests following the shootings – Police arrest several people for ‘inciting fear’ after Christchurch terror attacks

In the days since, police have arrested several people, including a 25-year-old Auckland man who is accused of threatening members of the public.

The man allegedly addressed people on Stoddard Rd in Mt Roskill and said: “I’m going to kill someone … F*ck New Zealand.”

He appeared in the Auckland District Court on Tuesday and has been charged with offensive behaviour or language. He was remanded in custody and will appear in court again next month.

Another remanded in custody.

A Wairarapa woman was also was arrested on suspicion of inciting racial disharmony after a message was posted to her Facebook page.

Police said on Wednesday a decision was still to be made about whether the woman, believed to be in her late 20s, will be charged.

Senior Sergeant Jennifer Hansen said social media post “upset a number of people because it referred to the events in Christchurch”.

The policewoman said the post was brought down relatively quickly, but not before “a number of people had already seen it and raised concerns”.

A charge of inciting racial disharmony under the Human Rights Act can be laid against a person who “publishes or distributes written matter which is threatening, abusive, or insulting” to other people, on the grounds of colour, race, ethnicity or national origins.

The offence carries a maximum penalty of three months’ imprisonment or a $7000 fine.

It may be that the police and the courts are taking a hard line approach to any behaviour related to the Christchurch shootings to try to deter any escalation in violence or threats of violence.

How the Christchurch killer was apprehended

NZ Herald has what they say is exclusive information about how the person deemed responsible for the Christchurch mosque massacres was apprehended.

NZH: Christchurch mosque shootings: Police reveal how they caught the alleged gunman

The Herald has exclusive details about how the officers, after hearing there was an active shooter on the loose in the city, took to the streets to find him – and stop him.

The officers, who the Herald has agreed not to name, are both based in smaller towns out of Christchurch.

That town has been named in other media coverage.

Their boss rural response manager Senior Sergeant Pete Stills said the pair had travelled into Christchurch to attend a training session at Princess Margaret Hospital in Cashmere.

The training was held on a disused floor of the hospital and was around room clearance and dealing with offenders in armed incidents.

“They were actually training when the call came through that there was an active armed offender in Christchurch,” Stills told the Herald.

“They had their work vehicles there with them with firearms in them.

“They operationalised themselves and got into one car, they decided to skirt the city, they thought that’s what the offender would do – rather than drive through the CBD.

“They were driving on Brougham Street because they thought if he’d just been to Linwood [the second mosque attacked] that’s a route he might take.”

Moments later they spotted a suspicious car.

“They saw someone fitting the description of the offender coming towards them,” Stills said.

“The car was weaving in and out of lanes with its hazard lights on.

“They confirmed the rego, that it was the right car, and did a U-turn.”

Stills said the officers have more than 40 years of policing between them and had the experience to handle the situation.

“They were trying to catch up with him, they were discussing tactics – did they want to pursue him?”

Stills said the officers weighed up a pursuit, where the gunman could have got away and “unleashed” on more innocent members of the public.

They also had to consider whether pursuing him would cause a crash which could also be fatal and involve innocent road users.

“They decided to bring it to an end as quickly as possible and they decided to immobilise the car by ramming it,” Stills said.

They rammed the gunman’s car on the driver’s side and footage supplied to the Heraldshows the officers dragging him out of the passenger side.

Stills said one officer saw “high risk” items in the back of the car and ran back round to the police car to radio the information in and warn other police.

He believed those items would put his colleagues in danger and wanted to tell them to stay back.

While doing that he lost sight of the alleged gunman and was worried for his colleague so he abandoned the plan and went back to the passenger side.

“He yelled at members of the public to get back,” said Stills.

“The car posed a danger.”

Once the alleged gunman was contained both officers used the radio to alert other police to the situation.

While police chases are controversial I don’t think there will be much if any criticism of this one.

Stuff: Video captures act of bravery as police arrest Christchurch shooting suspect

NZ Herald:  Exclusive footage of mosque shooting arrest: Suspect dragged along sidewalk

 

Arrest after pipe bomb mail campaign in US

A man has been arrested in Florida and is reported as beinng a suspect in this week’s pipe bomb campaign where twelve ‘bomb-like’ packages were mailed to various politicians and media organisations.

It sounds like it may not have been particularly sophisticated  bomb operation.

Miami Herald:  South Florida man arrested in connection with suspected explosive packages

A Florida man has been arrested in connection to the string of suspected explosive packages sent to prominent Democrats this week, law enforcement sources tell the Miami Herald and other outlets.

Law enforcement sources tell the Miami Herald a trail of DNA evidence on either the packages or the devices quickly led investigators to a suspect identified as Cesar Sayoc, a 56-year-old man from Aventura. He is being questioned by FBI agents with the Joint Terrorism Task Force since his arrest this morning at about 10 a.m.

Federal investigators quickly centered the investigation on the dozen crudely fashioned “pipe bombs” sent to top Trump critics, including Hillary Clinton and Cory Booker, on a mail sorting facility in Opa-locka. The devices have been recovered in New York, Washington D.C., California and South Florida, all with the return address of Debbie Wassermann-Schultz’s office. Several words, including her name, were misspelled on the packages.

Images posted on social media show federal agents examining a white van with windows covered in pro-Donald Trump and right wing stickers. Closeup photos of the van, posted by a Twitter user who said he saw the car at a stoplight in April, show rifle scope images over the faces of Hilary Clinton, left wing filmmaker Michael Moore and President Barack Obama. Another said “CNN Sucks,” along with an image of Trump standing on a tank in front of fireworks and an American flag.

This is likely to raise the rhetoric as the US heads into their mid-term elections.

Trump tried to use the bomb campaign to get out the republican vote.

There have been accusations flying in all directions.

It’s a very divided and toxic political situation in the US. Perhaps the President will show leadership and calm things down, but that seems unlikely this side of the election.

Trump is talking about it right now.

Trump:

These terrorising events are despicable and have no place in our country.

We must never allow political violence to take root in America. We cannot let it happen, and I’m committed to doing everything in my power as president to stop it, and to stop it now, to stop it now.

But the bottom line is that Americans must unify, and we must show the world that we are united together in peace and love and harmony as fellow American citizens. There is no country like our country, and every day we are showing the world just how truly great we are.

What Trump needs to do now is show that, over time, he can put his words into practice. He has been much the opposite of a unifying president so far. He won the election by attacking and dividing, and that’s how he has been running the current campaign.

Can he change?

Arrest in relation to alleged sexual assault at Labour camp

A week after Andrew Kirton announces he is leaving his job with Labour.

Police are believed to have arrested the man at the centre of the Labour Party summer youth camp sexual assault allegations.

Newsroom understands the man, who Labour said at the time was not a party member, was arrested and charged yesterday and will appear in a court in Auckland in the next week.

One victim told Newsroom last night: “To know that four months after the assaults occurred, that some action is finally being taken is fantastic. It feels like there’s some closure. After months of backtracks, lack of support and media coverage, its all coming to a head.”

Kirton resigned last Friday to take a government relations role at Air New Zealand but is expected to be in office when the Berryman report is received. His actions over the camp allegations were widely criticised but he was praised highly by the party president at the time and when his resignation was announced.

I expect suppression will apply to the victims at least, and probably initially to the person arrested. So no naming here please – this will be strictly enforced,

UK & Europe

Topics about the UK, EU and Europe.

UK-EU


BBC: Russian arrested in Spain ‘over US election hacking’

Spanish police have arrested a Russian programmer for alleged involvement in “hacking” the US election, Spanish press reports have said.

Pyotr Levashov, arrested on 7 April in Barcelona, has now been remanded in custody.

A “legal source” also told the AFP news agency that Mr Levashov was the subject of an extradition request by the US.

El Confidencial, a Spanish news website, has said that Mr Levashov’s arrest warrant was issued by US authorities over suspected “hacking” that helped Donald Trump’s campaign.

Mr Levashov’s wife Maria also told Russian broadcaster RT that the arrest was made in connection with such allegations.

Several cybersecurity experts, including Brian Krebs, have also linked Mr Levashov to a Russian spam kingpin, who uses the alias Peter Severa.

 

Corporal punishment proposed after Kaikohe rampage

More police and corporal punishment are suggested solutions after a rampage in Kaikohe.

NZ Herald: Police nab one teen after rampage in Kaikohe

The weekend’s trouble started on Friday when about half a dozen youths walked into The Shed liquor store on Marino Court and walked out with about 10 boxes of beer.

Police tracked them to a party on Shaw St but with just two officers, and the adults at the party defending the youths, there was little they could do, Taylor said.

At about 1am on Saturday, a group of about 20 youngsters tried to break into the Mobil service station.

Taylor said the group was like “a pack of deranged animals” trying to kick in the doors and throwing rocks at the glass.

They did not get in but caused about $1000 of damage to the iwi-owned service station.

Taylor said there weren’t enough police in the district to handle such situations.

People are understandably concerned and frustrated but it is simply not feasible to have enough police numbers available in small towns around the clock to deal with occasional incidents like this.

At the time of the attempted break-in at Mobil, police were attending incidents in Waipapa, Kerikeri and Kawakawa, as well as a crash at Oromahoe.

A sergeant and one other officer were in Kaikohe and police reached the service station three minutes after the first 111 call, Symonds said.

There will always be times that the police struggle to cope, especially with major incidents in relatively remote areas.

On Friday night most staff were deployed to Paihia and Kerikeri because that was where problems were expected.

And they can’t accurately guess where the problems will occur.

A 13-year-old has been apprehended by police after a group of youths – some thought to be as young as 11 – went on a rampage; helping themselves to boxes of beer from a liquor store and trying to smash their way into a service station.

The ages of those involved must be a real worry.

Radio NZ: Bring back corporal punishment in schools – National rep

The chair of the National Party’s Kaikohe branch, Alan Price, said systems were not in place to deal with growing drug use and young people running riot in his town and others.

“Whilst we need more police, there’s a bigger underlying problem here,” he said.

Mr Price told Morning Report the solution was to put corporal punishment back into schools.

Though the do-gooders would not like it, something needed to be done, he said.

“You can’t raise children without discipline and we’re getting into the situation where we’ve got an uncontrollable rat race that you can’t do anything with in this country.

“Until we stand up to it and do something about it and change the law that means you can discipline somebody for something they do wrong – to me it is a form of child abuse not to raise a child with discipline.”

Discipline – yes, but the country has moved on from using physical violence to try and teach children not to be violent.

I don’t know what Price’s party connections were highlighted, this is presumably his person reaction, not party policy.

The MP for Northland, New Zealand First leader Winston Peters, said the catch-and-release principle for young offenders had to change if youth crime in the area was to be curbed.

He said the number of charges had fallen despite a rise in criminal offences. “If you’re going to have discipline, then you’ve going to have to ensure that rather than have a catch and release policy, like some game fishing outfit, we actually charge these people with crimes, and we’re not doing it.”

Is Peters suggesting catch and imprison?

Once again people are rushing to offer simplistic solutions to complex problems.

The Kaikohe community needs to work together on how to address this problem. Their youths were vandalising their own community’s property.

 

Arrest over student loan debt

The Herald ‘understands’ that a woman has been arrested at Auckland airport trying to fly to Australia over a student loan debt.

Woman arrested at airport over student loan debt

The woman was arrested at Auckland Airport as she tried to board a flight to Australia on Tuesday, the Herald understands.

She appeared in Manukau District Court on Wednesday.

An Inland Revenue spokesman confirmed an arrest warrant was executed by police this week.

Taxpayer secrecy prevented the release of more details.

Some say this is draconian butIRD says they only use arrest as a last resort.

“Our powers to arrest at the border are used as a very last resort, and would only follow strenuous efforts to contact the borrower to make repayment arrangements – these would typically involve making phone calls, sending correspondence via mail and email to the borrower, and attempting to contact them via any third parties such as nominated persons and/or any known employer.”

It’s tough, but as much as anyone wants to argue about paying for tertiary education and the student loans system all those who take on a student loan should be aware of their responsibilities of keeping in touch with IRD and in in repaying the loan as and when required.

It is the harshest in a range of measures to recoup student debt from overseas Kiwis. Last year those based overseas made up 15 per cent of all borrowers, but 74 per cent of borrowers with overdue payments, and had 90 per cent of the amount overdue.

Those in default and living in Australia will come under more scrutiny from next month, when a transtasman information-sharing agreement begins. It will cover contact details of student loan borrowers living in Australia.

That could see thousands more borrowers receive warning notices. Accurate contact information is crucial, as a district court judge can issue an arrest warrant only if satisfied a person is knowingly avoiding repayment obligations.

The majority of overseas-based student-loan borrowers live in Australia. Legislation allowing the information-sharing passed last month.

There are about 112,000 overseas-based student-loan borrowers, and roughly 70 per are in default.

Tougher measures seem to be affective.

In January, Cook Islands man Ngatokotoru Puna, 40, was arrested as he tried to leave New Zealand.

Over the first two months of this year there was a 31 per cent increase in repayments by overseas-based borrowers, compared to the same period last year, with $7 million more received.

Emails to IRD were up 62 per cent, and phone calls increased by 55 per cent.

Inland Revenue believe that the publicity around the first arrest at the border contributed to the increased activity.

Some will find this additional information sharing and chasing up of loans tough but being in touch with IRD is the best way to deal with it.

Authorities say those in default should make contact with Inland Revenue, to arrange a repayment agreement or discuss hardship plans if in financial difficulty. Applying for an arrest warrant is a “last resort”, the IRD says.

Student loan defaulters worried

After a student loan defaulter was arrested trying to leave New Zealand NZ Herald reports Worried borrowers swamp IRD lines:

Inland Revenue has received a surge of inquiries from student loan defaulters worried they could be arrested if they return to New Zealand.

This isn’t a surprising reaction to the arrest. Up until now people with student loans have been able to leave New Zealand and ignore their loans with impunity.

One man who ignored his repayment obligations contacted the Weekend Herald from Australia and said he would now be scared to return for funerals or weddings.

Was he not concerned about defaulting on his loan until now? Obviously the threat of arrest is more of a worry but he should have had some feelings of concern about ignoring his responsibilities.

Unpaid student loans is a big problem. People who are overseas account for 90% of overdue loans.

The arrest policy, passed in March 2014, is the harshest in a range of measures to recoup debt from the 110,600 borrowers living overseas. Last year those based overseas made up 15 per cent of all borrowers, but 74 per cent of borrowers with overdue payments, and had 90 per cent of the amount overdue.

There were 5735 borrowers who each owed more than $100,000 last year. Those statistics do not indicate whether they are overseas, but in 2012 the IRD said most of the top 10 debtors were overseas – and each owed more than $290,000.

There’s some big money involved. I wonder about why people would clock up such large loans in the first place, and then think they can leave the country and ignore their debts.

Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Steven Joyce said if more money could be recouped from overseas borrowers, the cost of the scheme would be reduced significantly.

“The net cash cost of the scheme in the last year was down to $400 million – that is cash out, less repayments. In 2009/10, it was $771m.

“If we can get this overseas-based borrower stuff going, I can see us getting to a point where there is very little more going out [in loans] than what is coming back in [in repayments].”

The cost of unpaid loans impacts on New Zealand taxpayers, and it’s not fair on those who take out loans and are responsible enough to repay them.

Student unions criticised the border arrest policy as draconian and likely to make overseas Kiwis “student loan refugees” – unable to return home for weddings, funerals or other important events.

I think many had effectively already made themselves “student loan refugees”. This only really impacts on those who ignored their loans and kept returning to New Zealand.

The IRD has previously considered overdue borrowers for arrest if they re-entered New Zealand, but in each case the individual has agreed to repayments.

A simple solution – meet your obligations.

Accurate contact information is crucial – an arrest warrant can only be issued if a district court is satisfied a person is knowingly avoiding student loan repayment obligations.

Another simple way to avoid arrest, keep in touch with the IRD, which anyone should do if they owe them (us, the country) money.

If people who are overseas are worried about their student loans they should do what should have done all along, deal with them responsibly.

Should student loan defaulter have been arrested?

The person arrested for not paying his student loan is Ngatokotoru Puna, nephew of Cook Islands Prime Minister.

NZ Herald reported: Man arrested at airport over student loan debt is Cook Island Prime Minister’s nephew

He had been given a $40,000 loan while studying a Bachelor of Arts at Auckland University 20 years ago but said interest had seen it balloon to around $130,000.

He described his ordeal as “unbelievable” after an appearance at Manukau District Court today.

He described the day he got arrested as the worst of his life, “if you don’t count deaths”.

It would be highly embarrassing for him.

His wife, Diane, told the Herald from the Cook Islands that the IRD sent reminder letters to the wrong address.

She was audibly upset when speaking with the Herald, and said the arrest had come as a huge shock to the family.

Puna has lived in the Cook Islands for 13 years, she said. “We never had any contact from IRD about the whole thing,” she said. “They were sending reminders to the wrong address.”

It’s possible they were sending letters to the wrong address. But how does she know that?

Puna, who said he came from a family of “high achievers” said he was pulled aside by Customs staff and initially thought it was about his emergency passport, which he had obtained after losing his original passport.

The father of five daughters said his salary was about $35,000 and his mistake was that he had not contacted IRD when a payrise took him over the repayment threshold five years ago.

He said his plan was never to rack up a huge debt and then ignore it after graduating but accepted he was in the wrong for not keeping in touch with the IRD.

Anyone, especially ‘high achievers’, should know exactly what their responsibilities are if they have a $35,000 loan. They should also be aware of interest and changing balances.

It is tough on Puna to be in the spotlight as the first person arrested for defaulting on his loan, but it had to be someone.

But there are questions about how IRD has dealt with this, and how the law allows them to deal with it. Debts are usually civil matters, not criminal.

Graeme Edgler pointed out some things of concern:

Imprisonment for non-payment of debts is breach of international human rights laws. It is one of very few absolute rights.

Non-imprisonment for debt is one of the ICCPR rights left out of BOR.

Embedded image permalink

If a loan from the Government is unpaid, they should sue just like every other unpaid creditor.

And:

Who knew? People working in New Zealand’s bases on Antarctica are overseas for student loan purposes and will* be charged interest.

We arrested a Cook Islander for trying to leave New Zealand while in default on student loan obligations? The Cooks are part of New Zealand!

If anyone you know lives in the Cook Islands (or Niue, Tokelau, or Antarctica), and is being charged NZ student loan interest, please tell them that they can apply to be treated as being in New Zealand for loan purposes, so that they won’t be charged interest.

Puna stuffed up by ignoring his loan and his repayment obligations.

But has the Government stuffed up with the law that enabled his arrest?

And has the IRD stuffed up charging him interest, and for getting him arrested when leaving Auckland for the Cook Islands?

This is Wikipedia’s description of the status of the Cook Islands and Cook Islanders.

The Cook Islands is a representative democracy with a parliamentary system in an associated state relationship with New Zealand. Executive power is exercised by the government, with the Chief Minister as head of government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the Parliament of the Cook Islands. There is a pluriform multi-party system. The Judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature. The Head of State is the Queen of New Zealand, who is represented in the Cook Islands by the Queen’s Representative.

The islands are self-governing in “free association” with New Zealand. New Zealand retains primary responsibility for external affairs, with consultation with the Cook Islands government. Cook Islands nationals are citizens of New Zealand and can receive New Zealand government services

I guess it depends on the letter of the law.