Cook Islands Prime Minister to stand down

Cook Islands leader Henry Puna has announced he will be stepping aside as Prime Minister.

Henry Puna, Cook Islands prime minister. Source: 1 NEWS

In the surprise move announced today, Mr Puna, who has been the nation's leader for nearly 10 years, says he’s been planning it for months and a succession process will take place amongst his own party.

Mr Puna now intends to apply for the role of Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum, which will become vacant at the end of this year.

He says he feels he could be of service to the broader Pacific region as he’s filled many of his objectives in the leadership of his political party and government.