HERALD WEEKLY ISSUE 592: 30 November 2011

News in Brief

Reality Check
Last week I was sharing my thoughts on depopulation and why people choose to leave the country. Once people leave, it is much harder to get them to return, and if we are serious about Cook Islanders living in the Cook Islands we have to stop them leaving.
The CIP government is failing miserably to this end.
Not only are we importing foreign investment and labour into our private sector to replace the locals that are leaving but now our public sector foreign labour levels mirror those in the private sector.
In fact, if the Public Service were to analyze the census 2011 data they could tell us exactly how many non-Cook Islanders were working in the public sector today. I am sure the results would reflect those of the private sector.
To add to this, the release of the functional review of the public service is creating a fear that we are heading for a repeat of the 1997 economic crisis that saw thousands of skilled Cook Islanders leave our shores with their families in tow.
It worries many of us that the CIP government is no closer to a solution to the issue of depopulation. They are failing to provide policies to stem outward migration.
The CIP are skirting the issue and believe that if only they can instigate their much talked about $618 million economic task force wish list that it will solve the conundrum of keeping Cook Islanders in the Cook Islands.
Last week I was talking about making our dreams reality. I said that we use Te Kaveinga Nui as the landscape for that reality.
The economic taskforce report shows that the CIP government are divorced from our reality of Te Kaveinga Nui. They are so far out of touch, that they have lost sight of what Cook Islanders want for their future.
The Touring Ministers are focused on looking for people overseas to give solutions to our challenges here at home. They travel so much to beg for help that they need to publish a travel log of when they are hopping on and off flights so that the constituents know how to get hold of them. This is ridiculous when we know that we can solve our challenges at home if we stay here and focus on delivering on our dream of Te Kaveinga Nui.
Challenges such as the most recognised economic stumbling block for most Pacific nations, and also for the Cook Islands - the nature of our land tenure.
With most of those who have a right to land ownership living overseas it means that large tracts of land remain unavailable for economic development.
The taskforce and every other CIP document fail to provide policies that allow those of us living here to access and develop those lands.
The shallow grandstanding of the CIP needs a reality check. Get on track, deliver to the Cook Islands people our dream of Te Kaveinga Nui. - Leader of the Opposition, Robert Wigmore

Budget Policy Statement priorities
MFEM has now revised its economic forecasts and these will be published tomorrow on 1 December 2011.
The economy has begun to recover from the two years of minimal growth following the onset of the global financial crisis. (2.2 per cent in 2008/09 and 0.2 per cent in 2009/10)
Nominal GDP grew strongly by 5.4 per cent in 2010/11, it is forecast to continue growing by 8.7 per cent in 2011/12, and 4.3 per cent in 2012/13.
The revised projections for economic growth are driven by the continued strength in tourism numbers in comparison to the estimates at budget time.
These have grown strongly from our key markets, for instance the number of New Zealand visitors has grown 10 per cent in the last year, despite the devastating impact of the earthquake and the activity around the Rugby World Cup.
Our current projections are that tourism will continue to grow and provide the underlying impetus required to grow the economy.
There is a note of caution to these forecasts, they assume no change to the current global economic outlook. A worsening in global conditions which impact on our two major trading partners i.e. New Zealand and Australia will require a downwards revision in our forecasts.
MFEM is now projecting a net operating surpluses of $2.042 million in 2011/12, rising to $6.685 million in 2014/15.
The Government believes it is prudent to devote approximately half of the projected surplus over the next three Budgets to cash reserves, and using the other half as a reserve for policy interventions.
The broad strategic priorities, specific outputs and other expenditures expected to be included in the 2012/13 estimates will be published in the Budget Policy Statement and are expected to provide guidance to all government departments on the priorities of the Government so that these are costed and reflected in department business plans and funding request in the 2012/13 budget process.
Budget Policy Statement Priorities
The broad strategic priority areas in BPS 2012/2013 are to:
1. continue economic development, ensuring a vibrant Cook Islands economy;
2. invest in infrastructure to provide for further economic growth;
3. ensure our energy security for the long term;
4. provide opportunity for all who reside in the Cook Islands through social development;
5. build resilient and sustainable communities;
6. maintain ecological sustainability;
7. apply the principles of good governance; and
8. institute law and order, ensuring a safe, secure, just and stable society.
The adoption of these priority areas and goals from the National Sustainable Development Plan in the Budget Policy Statement is to ensure a clear linkage between the Budget and the realisation of the NSDP goals.
The emphasis on the NSDP priority areas for development demonstrates the Government’s move towards a sectoral approach for development. This will lead to improved coordination across government, better performance and allow government to focus on initiatives that will ensure coordinated sustainable development in the medium to long term.
For copies of the Budget Policy Statement go to www.mfem@gov.ck - Prime Minister, Hon Henry Puna

Cabinet considering Public Service Functional Review Report
Prime Minister Hon Henry Puna today said Cabinet had received and was still considering the Public Sector Functional Review Report prepared by ADB Consultants.
“Given the report’s wide scope and strategic focus, Cabinet wishes to give it careful consideration and expects there to be questions and meaningful discussions with the Public Service Commissioner and Central Agencies before making any decisions.”
He said once these big issue discussions have been completed, Cabinet intends to release the report for wider consultation with HOMs, Opposition, and key stakeholders.
“Until then any comment regarding the content of the report would be premature and imprudent.”
Prime Minster Puna said he condemned the recent leak of the report, describing it as an impudent and irresponsible act on the part of those who would work to undermine effective government and public confidence.
“Cabinet has the right to carefully consider any recommendations prepared for its consideration before it is placed so carelessly in the public domain - without regard for the undue speculation and stress created as a result.” - PM Office Media Release

Motor Centre Expo
On Monday the 5th to Saturday the 10th of December, Motor Centre will be holding Rarotonga’s biggest ever Whiteware Expo.
The expo will open to the public starting Tuesday, with Monday being a Preview Day for invites only; the expo will start from 8am to 4.30pm on weekdays and 8am to 12.30pm on Saturday.
For Monday’s showing, a representative from Electrolux Australia will be in-store to discuss your individual business requirements including bulk sales.
“ It is very hard to get a representative of one of our suppliers to come down, so we are looking forward to his visit,” said Sales Manager Diane McFarlane.
Throughout the Whiteware Expo week, the Motor Centre will also be featuring a ‘Live Cooking Demonstration Show’ by an established chef and there will also be refreshments and spot prizes.
Also, with any purchase on all whiteware products, such has a washing machine, chest freezers, dishwashers, refrigerators and many more during the expo week you will be given a free delivery service.
People who purchase products during the Expo week will go into a draw on the 12th of December
to win their money back
There will also be heavily discounted kitchen packages on all showroom and demo models during the Expo week. -Tiare Ponini

Cook Islands committed to Red Cross

Prime Minister, Hon Henry Puna, today reiterated the Cook Islands firm commitment to the Red Cross Movement and international humanitarian law that protects individuals in times of armed conflict.
Addressing the 31st International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement in Geneva Switzerland he said it was important for all members of the international community, both big and small, to work together to support the Red Cross and promote respect for international humanitarian law.
“The Cook Islands has been very active in that regard over the past year and our efforts have been widely recognised and appreciated by other countries members of the Red Cross Movement.”
At the conference opening today, Ms Niki Rattle, Secretary-General of the Cook Islands Red Cross Society, was elected unanimously to chair deliberations.
“This is an historic event for our country and Ms Rattle is to be congratulated on her election as conference chair. It was important for the Cook Islands to strongly support her on this occasion,” Prime Minister Puna said.
Also attending the Conference are Mr Nga Jessie, President of the Cook Islands Red Cross, Ms Fine Tuitupou, International Humanitarian Law Officer in the Cook Islands Red Cross Society, and Dr Jim Gosselin, Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Immigration.
- PM Office Media Release

Order of business for next sitting of parliament
When parliament resumes on Wednesday 7 December at 1pm, order paper No 43 issued on 29 November by the Clerk of Parliament N Valoa, shows there are 8 papers for presentation, 10 papers for consideration (still on the Order paper) presented on 18 February 2011, 4 papers presented on 15 April 2011, 2 papers presented on 18 April 2011, 4 papers presented on 1 July 2011, 1 paper presented on 8 July 2011, 1 paper presented on 23 August 2011, 2 Special review reports by the Audit Office presented on 24 August 2011 and 3 Bills- the Banking Bill, the Judicature Amendment Bill and the Digital Registers Bill.
The 8 new papers for presentation are;
34. 1st Quarter Report of the Audit Office period: 1 July 2010-30 September 2010.
35. Heads of Department Selection Panel (Remuneration of Members) Order 2011.
36. Cook Islands Pearl Authority Annual Report and Audited Financial Statements for the period 1st July 2009-30 June 2010.
37. Public Expenditure Review Committee and Audit (Appointment of Director) Order 2011, Serial No 2011/07.
38. Banking (Fees) Regulations 2011, Serial No 2011/08.
39. Commission of Police (Appointment) Order 2011, serial No 2011/09.
40. Cook Islands Government Property Corporation Annual Report for the year ended 30 June 2010.
41. Cook Islands Investment Corporation Annual Report for the year ended 30 June 2010 -Charles Pitt.

The Oppressor from Timberland greening glass
On Monday the Herald visited the Timberland in Arorangi to talk to Andy Olah about a machine which crushes glass bottles, reducing them down to a sand-like substance. It’s Andy’s way of greening waste.
Called the Oppressor Glass Bottle Crusher,’ it’s the only machine of its kind on the island. It’s Andy’s way of reducing the environmental pollution of glass bottles in the Cook Islands.
“Basically, using this machine anywhere in the Cook Islands especially the outer islands will have a positive impact from an environmental point of view as the machine basically turns glass back into what it originally was, which is sand”.
The Oppressor is a machine designed for predominantly hospitality use, it is quiet and produces safe sand glass which can be re-used for any purpose such has mixing with gravel for a driveway or craft use.
“My son Alexander found it online and when I went to New Zealand recently I decided to import one,” said Andy.
Timberland is now the sole distributor for the machine and has had a lot of positive feedback from the local hospitality industry.
The machine which is designed for bars, can take any size glass bottle and demolish it in two seconds to sand glass.
“A good night of business for anyone using the machine will see them dumping at least 4 buckets of glass sand.”
The sand is safe to walk on as the small shards have been blunted thoroughly through the Oppressor’s crushing process. -Tiare Ponini

NZ Army take on Cook Islands Rugby league Masters
The Cook Islands Masters Rugby League team which toured the Gold Coast last month, received an invitation from the NZ Army to a friendly fire game of touch which took place on Tuesday afternoon at Avatea field. The match is to warm up the old fellas for the league season next year. “We aim to build up to next season,” Charlie Carlson told the Herald, “so we’re just giving them a bit of a run and this is the lead up to that.” Lending a hand to help clear blocked tracks across the island, the NZ Army personnel are also visiting local schools with recruitment information and advice on ways to join the NZ Army. “It’s pretty exciting, and now we are just trying to have a bit of fun,” said Corporal Trent Vartha. - By Maria Tanner

Junior Exams
It was a Wednesday that all the juniors in Tereora College were dreading. The beginning of the exams. Blast! I felt like ditching the exams and gapping it. I had studied to the best of my ability (Yeah, studying my laptop at home. Lolz) and I wasn’t really mentally prepared for the exams to be honest. I was freaking out (along with two hundred other kids). I was really worried about my Science and Math, which are my weakest subjects. My “arch-enemy”, May Myo Min, got straight Es’ for both of them. Eew Yuck Blah! (Don’t mind me, May. That’s just the jealousy talking)
First subject up,Math. Grrr. Equations and sums kept popping up in my head and I was going over the formulas’ again and again. I was thinking to myself Man, do I look like a person who knows her NINE times tables? I don’t think so! The teacher who was supervising us walked past and I got a glimpse of the exam paper. Shucks, that was like, our whole curriculum in there! I was starting to doubt myself and I just managed to keep myself from running away.
Five minutes later, we are in a room. No talking, no borrowing and no breathing. Everybody was taking this seriously. Our futures depended on it. Everybody was looking around, giving each other sly winks. I felt like kicking them. It wasn’t the time for mucking around and “sharing the love” with anybody. I was watching the clock in anticipation and fiddling with my pens at the same time. 0ur teacher was giving us looks, as if saying, 0h, that one won’t pass, this one will. Faithless people! The shrill ring of the bell fires through the school. The exams had started.
Math’s was everything I thought it would be. Dumb and too hard for someone of my standard. I struggled with almost everything on that paper! Stupid exam! Seeing what Math exam was, I could just imagine what English had in store for us. The pressure was almost too much to bear. I had a power lunch, hoping that I would increase my chances of passing my English exam (of course, this was just wishful thinking). The bell rang, then again and it was off to the classroom. Now I had a fair idea of what NCEA was going to be like. Aue!
Thursday and Friday passed like a breeze. I reckon that Social Studies was the easiest exam of all. Science sucked. 0nly the brain/ of the brain/ passed (thankfully, I was one of them). We got our results back on Monday. I had really bad nightmares, as I was expecting bad grades. But I amazed myself with my “fantastic-ness”. I got straight Merits for the whole lot of exams. My feelings were jumbled up. I wasn’t proud of myself, but I wasn’t disappointed either. I was glad that I had passed my exams and that’s all that mattered. - Norma Ngatamariki

Seen at the Punanganui Market
Puna Tou Rampling, a regular vendor at the Punanganui Market in Ruatonga had one of the best Christmas blessings she could ever dream of when she was visited during the last week by 2 of her grand children from New Zealand, Eden and Giovanni Rampling, Puna’s youngest son Stephano Rampling and also a relative from New Zealand Mrs Aketuko Pouao.
The kids were at the market helping Puna out with her stall and Eden and Giovanni’s dad is Puna’s second eldest son John Ramping, who will also be visiting Puna next month. On Eden and Giovanni on their mum’s side are also the grandchildren of Bishop Brian Tamaki and Pastor Hannah Tamaki of the Destiny Church in New Zealand. Who would think those on the leadership of a renowned Pentecostal Fundamentalist Christian movement with its main headquarters in Auckland New Zealand have Nukuroa connections? They are also in fact two of the great-grandchildren of papa Metuaone Tou and the late Agnes Tutai Tou also of Mitiaro.
Stephano Rampling is on holiday here in Rarotonga spending some time with her mum before returning to Auckland in February, to attend university. Eden and Giovanni left last Sunday in time for their end of year school prize giving.-Charlie Rani

Herald Issue 554 09 March
- Norm exposes Trio of Doom
- Briefs from PM’s media conference Tuesday
- Tourism Industry ponders $5 million draft strategy
- Norman George resigns from Cook Islands Party
- Letter of Resignation from CIP
- Norman selfish says Prime Minister

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