HERALD WEEKLY ISSUE 463 : 10 June 2009

Budget will decide if residents prosecute Government over landfill

The plan created by the Ministry of Health (MOH), National Environment Service (NES) and the Ministry of Infrastructure and Planning (MOIP) to bring the Rarotonga Landfill to a compliant level was verbally presented to the Ruaau Resident’s Group on Monday 8th June 2009 at 2pm. Those present at the meeting included Hon Ngamau Munukoa, the Director of NES and two support team members, the Director of Waste Management, the Ruaau Member of Parliament, the Recycling Consultant to MOIP and representatives of the Ruaau Resident’s Group.
When asked to comment about the plan presented to the Ruaau Resident’s Group the following comments were made by the various Ruaau Resident’s Group members present at the meeting:
Dr Ngamau Wichman Tou
• There was no written documentation presented to us, despite the three month timeline. So, it made it difficult to appreciate their verbal statements about the various Ministries approach towards bringing the landfill to a compliant level.
• It is clear that the ‘Mini Games’ is a priority and therefore the Ministries doubt, if any commitment would be made in the upcoming financial budget for 2009/2010 towards bringing the landfill to a compliant level.
This makes a clear statement to the people of Rarotonga, that they are ‘second’ to the games, yet we are the ones that have to clean, pay and live with the consequences of the waste that is created as a result of such major events. It is disheartening.
Ruaau Members 1 and 2:
• It seems like a scratched record. They are repeating the same things we already know and not really giving us a solid answer to addressing the Rarotonga landfill problem and making it compliant.
• There are various people within certain government departments that are obviously new and out of their depth at what needs to be done. This confirms that there are capability issues within a particular ministry.
• There are particular Ministers that are obviously un-interested in the matter at hand and yet their Ministries play an integral role in ensuring that the health and well being of our people in Puaikura are protected at all times.
Dr Ngamau Wichman Tou tells the Herald, it became apparent during the meeting that continued uphill battles between the Budget Review Committee, Ministry HOM’s and Minsiters to agree to fully finance the operations of the landfill are the greatest obstacle to making the landfill compliant.
Results of the meeting are planned to be presented to the Aronga Mana for final endorsement, says Dr Ngamau Wichman Tou, along with the preparation of the case to take to court by the two lawyers presently working on behalf of the group who have been collecting affadavits from various key specialists in the area of waste management and residents residing close to the Rarotonga landfill.
Legal action seems to be what is needed against Government, if no commitment in the upcoming budget is made to bring the landfill to a compliant level. It is time that Government get genuine about protecting the health and well being of its people first and foremost, over any project.

Herald Issue 463 10 June
- World famous activist assisting residents
- Budget will decide if residents prosecute Government over landfill
- Forestry project sucking Mangaia dry
- Budget 2010 – fiasco or disaster?

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