HERALD WEEKLY ISSUE 554: 09 March 2011

Briefs from PM’s media conference Tuesday

No urgency yet over oil price leap
At a media briefing on Tuesday afternoon, Prime Minister Hon Henry Puna was asked if government saw any urgency to address the impact of the recent rise in the price of oil. The PM said the troubles in the Middle East which prompted the significant rise in the price of oil, was something beyond our control and government had to look at how it could minimize the impact. He said there were some things we could manage and these could be looked at. The PM did not confirm whether officials had been instructed to consider and recommend any cost effective options for minimizing the impact of the oil price rise. It appears government is going to take a reactive approach. In other words wait and see what happens.

Equipment on way to Manihiki pearl farmers

The PM confirmed that equipment ordered by pearl farmers on Manihiki had arrived in Samoa from New Zealand and would be shipped from Samoa to Manihiki by boat next week. The PM said Tony Armstrong was coordinating the transport. The shipment of equipment follows a meeting between the PM and pearl farmers last month when farmers indicated they needed assistance in obtaining much needed equipment such as floats, before the seeding season began.

Public service jobs safe for now
At a media briefing on Tuesday afternoon, the Prime Minister Hon Henry Puna mentioned government’s intention to restructure the public service into sectors. This had been signaled in the Cook Islands Party manifesto prior to the general election. The PM said restructuring was to reduce duplication and increase efficiency. He said the exercise was not to lay off workers.
PSC Navy Epati told the Herald on Wednesday morning no determination had yet been done on how many staff should be employed in the public service. He referred to a review which had just commenced about two weeks ago by Lynn Yeoman of Consultants Yeoman and Ward. He said she would soon be joined by two further persons to assist. He did not release any details of the terms of reference.
The Herald understands the PM will release a media statement shortly regarding the review.

PM on Sir Geoffrey
In response to Atiu MP Norman George’s recent media statements regarding Speaker of the House Sir Geoffrey Henry’s role in the new government, the PM said Sir Geoffrey does not run the government. The PM said Sir Geoffrey assists the government and the PM said he met weekly with Sir Geoffrey. The PM said the former PM had a wealth of institutional knowledge and was a valuable asset to government.

By Charles Pitt

Herald Issue 463 10 June
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- Budget will decide if residents prosecute Government over landfill
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- Budget 2010 – fiasco or disaster?

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