HERALD WEEKLY ISSUE 599: 18 January 2012

News Briefs

Minister Heather : King of wind-talk
One of the biggest talking points in politics and in the general public now is how disappointing the performance of Minister Teariki Heather’s performance has been. When he became a Minister, he was the media darling and was called the “Action Man”. Many people including myself believed that he could make a difference. But unfortunately, as my mates down the Matavera taro patch would say, “he is full of wind-talk” and I agree with them.
What is also most telling is his ability to spin stories thorough flash colour photo advertisements and notices with his name in full bold and big letters along with his picture with a shovel or some working utensil. Uhmmmm, if you are a smart Cook Islander, have another look and ask around.
Here’s the truth. As a Minister, all the infrastructure projects that he has taken over as “caption cover model” were never his initiatives and were at the points of completion. The Aitutaki Cyclone Recovery Project, the Mangaia Harbour, the Mauke Water Project, the Avatiu Harbour project, the Northern Group Water Tanks project and so on. But as part of his self-promotional agenda, he and his side kick, CEO Ben Mose has stage- managed all of the blessing and hand-over ceremonies – yep nothing more than that. It’s all just “warm fuzzy, thank you’s” but pretending that it was all due to him and getting all the credit is downright unethical and misleading.
At the moment, the Minister is leading a delegation to the Northern Group at probably a cost of close to $80,000 of chartering the flights. For what, I have no idea except he is there to tell a yarn that it was him that drove the project. Nope, I’m telling you the truth – yours truly writing this column had more to do with the substantial work of negotiations and winning over the rust of donors for all the projects the Minister has claimed. Apparently when the handing over of the Aitutaki Cyclone Recovery Project was done – the Minister rejected requests by Aitutaki people to include me into the delegation to Aitutaki. It gets worse; he shows disrespect to me by not inviting me at least to travel to Penrhyn with him so he could inspect the completed water tank projects – yes – finished, kaput, and done – not without problems but the work of the Democratic Party Government is done. Well, to his embarrassment, Mauke people had a plaque with the name of Democratic Party Leader Robert Wigmore on it – a tribute to our Government’s drive to finish the Mauke water project.
Several former Ministers and Government Members of Parliament have also complained to me about false and un-kept promises by the Minister. Nikao is still wanting of several back road matters. Ruaau still wanting of water intake and waste management matters. Tupapa still wanting of back road matters and so on in Rarotonga. The approved roading re-sealing trial from Avarua to the Triad was work started and nearly completed by the Democratic Government but hey, TNM winning the contract – oh my gosh (omg), is there a conflict of interest there? Increasing fees to TNM for rubbish collection – is there self interest there? And really has the roads improved?
Minister Heather and Member for Akaoa also announced confidentially retention of the services of the Samoan ship Lady Naomi to cart Northern Cook Islanders to and from the north to the Maeva Nui. Guess what – the food service was shocking, the sleeping quarters were dreadful and the ship did not have winches strong enough to lift standard freezers, a common cargo to and from the north. Worse, foodstuff that were ordered from Samoa (taking money out of the country) and some bought from here were left behind for close to six months before being carted to the north – Penrhyn in particular. Most foodstuffs had gone off by then. This is poor, very poor performance.
Sorry, Minister, the truth is said. I can and so can others see right through the spin and wind-talk. -Wilkie Rassmussen, Deputy Leader of the Opposition Party

Epilepsy Research Underway in the Islands
Epilepsy New Zealand today announced that it had received funding from the IBE (International Bureau for Epilepsy), the world governing body for epilepsy based in Europe, to conduct research in the Pacific Island region in 2012, to ascertain the services available to people with epilepsy and the treatment, if any, they are receiving.
With over two million people living in the region and an estimated 40,000 living with epilepsy, we need to understand the different levels of treatment available, the types of medication, and availability of not only the medication but the care being provided short and long term.
“Our organisation has worked hard over its 56 years here in New Zealand alongside senior health professionals and many Pacific Island leaders, and together with them we can now start to extend our services, starting with this research to the islands and people in need”, said Frank Gouveia, Chief Executive of Epilepsy New Zealand.
Our first step is to find some key people in the islands who know the health system and who will join our team. Our funding will allow us to bring them here to New Zealand to meet with our researchers and Neurologists for training etcetera. We therefore call for expressions of interest through our website www.epilepsy.co.nz
“The overall aim of the research is to collect as much data as possible, and build a platform to develop a structure to deliver services focused on epilepsy, and maybe possibly other conditions, teaming up with Neurologists here in New Zealand. These services would be health, medical, support and educational based”, said Mr Gouveia.
The Pacific Islands initially targeted are Fiji, Tonga, Samoa and the Cook Islands.

Chance of extended term lost by CIP?
Has the Cook Islands Party (CIP) government blown its chances of calling and winning a snap election?
Why would the government consider a snap election at this point just over a year into its term?
The answer is obvious. When any political party is elected with a healthy majority, consolidates its grip on power and becomes popular, it can call a snap election and gain a further term (four years) to fully implement its policies.
However, it appears that the CIP may have blown its chances due to some unpopular choices, one being the withholding tax. The longer government retains this tax, the less popular it will become.
Followers of the political scene are already saying the CIP is beginning to look more and more like a one term government. The general public is becoming concerned at the amount of overseas travel by Ministers when there are issues and problems at home needing attention. The time has come for Ministers to start politely declining invitations to meetings which result in no direct or tangible benefits to the country.
Of concern to CIP stalwarts must be that just over a year down the track, no real changes have occurred. For example, the recent drought on Rarotonga exposed just how ineffective government’s response was. There is one solution to the water problem and that is to create larger reservoirs. Supplying each household with a water tank is not a solution if the water is just not there in the first place.
Government’s strategy to improve tourism in the outer islands is flawed because no-one except perhaps Tim Tepaki could see that the problem plaguing this strategy is lack of a form of mass transport.
Government should consider funding large construction projects to provide jobs for local trades people. There are government Ministries (Internal Affairs, Marine, PSC, Public Health) which will need new accommodation in the near future so why not start building now? More cash needs to be injected into the local economy and some big construction projects will assist this.
Government needs to raise the minimum wage. This will attract more locals into work and reduce the reliance on foreign labour. The Herald has learnt that some public servants are working night shifts in the private sector to make ends meet.
A concern must also be a weakness at Ministerial Support Office level in policy development and analysis. There is also a lack of depth at this level in the machinery of government. Since the departure of the very experienced George Turia from Minister Bishop’s Support Office, this weakness will become more apparent and expect errors to occur as Turia was the one person other Minister’s CEO’s consulted for advice in developing policy, writing Cabinet reports and undertaking policy analysis. While Ministers do have staff in Ministries who can provide policy advice, lack of depth of experience means Ministers will no longer receive the critical analysis they previously enjoyed from their support staff of submissions from Ministries. Government will come to realize in time that persons with Turia’s skills are very hard to find, even in NZ.
While the next election is still three years away, it is known that some MPs are already thinking and talking about the next election as though it was just around the corner.
With ongoing depopulation, some MPs especially outer island MPs will be concerned that their support base is eroding. Some MPs may now be eying up safe seats elsewhere but first they must contend with the incumbents especially if those incumbents change their mind about retiring or vacating the seat.

DPM meets new Maritime Surveilance Advisor
In Avarua, on Tuesday 17 January 2012, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and DPM, the Hon. Tom Marsters, received a courtesy call from the RETIRING AND NEW MARITIME SURVEILLANCE ADVISORS.
The main purpose of the meeting was to-
• farewell Australian Commander CHRIS COOPER who is ending his 3 year appointment to the Maritime Surveillance Advisor; and
• introduce the Minister to the newly appointed Maritime Surveillance Advisor from New Zealand, Commander TONY GRUBB.
• Cmdr Grubb will be based in Rarotonga for a 3 year term. (CV attached)
Discussions with Minister Marsters at the meeting covered the highlights of Cmdr COOPER’S term being-
• the first ever attaining of 100 days of “days at sea” by Te Kukupa, our national Patrol boat vessel, which is a great achievement for a single patrol boat nation;
• several search and rescue missions by Te Kukupa; and
• on-going training to the highest standard of all crew of Te Kukupa.
NZ has now effectively taken over the important role of Maritime Surveillance Advisor in the Cook Islands, previously undertaken to great effect by Australia. This role is locally based and works to support the Cook Islands in maritime surveillance matters, particularly in combating unlawful fishing in our large EEZ of 2 million square miles.
Cmdr Cooper leaves the Cook Islands shortly to take command of an Australian Navy Patrol boat in Darwin.
The DPM presented Cmdr Cooper with a traditional rito hat as a gesture of appreciation and thanked him for his services to the Cook Islands during his term.
Cmdr Grubb will be joined in the Cook Islands February by his wife and teenage son.
- DPM Office Media Release

Commander Tony Peter Grubb, VRD, RNZN

Tony Grubb was born in Christchurch, New Zealand in 1961. Following education at Christchurch Boys High School he joined the Royal New Zealand Naval Volunteer Reserve in 1981 at HMNZS PEGASUS, Christchurch.
Commander Grubb held a number of sea-going and shore appointments in the Reserve, including command of a number of Patrol Craft.
In 1999, as a Lieutenant Commander, he joined the Regular Force of the RNZN as Staff Officer Mine Countermeasures and as OIC Mine Warfare Force at Maritime Headquarters, Auckland. In 2001 he completed Mine Warfare Officer training with the Royal Navy.
Following a tour of duty in 2002 – 2003 leading a New Zealand peacekeeping contribution to ISAF in Afghanistan, Commander Grubb posted to the Directorate of Capability Requirements at Headquarters New Zealand Defence Force (HQ NZDF), Wellington, where he was responsible for strategic level doctrine.
Commander Grubb was posted to Headquarters Joint Forces New Zealand as JS02 Current Operations (Maritime) – J33M in December 2003 and in April 2005 commenced a review of the organisation and structure of the Naval Reserve Forces.
In June 2006 Commander Grubb posted to Personnel Branch and was appointed Deputy Director Reserve Forces at HQ NZDF followed by a term as Director Personnel Policy Support.
In August 2009 Commander Grubb posted to strategic Commitments and Intelligence Branch as Deputy Director Strategic Commitments to head the Mutual Assistance Programme and later as the Defence Advisor to the Cook Islands, Niue, Samoa and Tonga.
In July 2011 Commander Grubb left the NZDF to take up a 6 month contract as the Director International Strategy and Planning at Police National Headquarters, Wellington.
Commander Grubb was awarded the Volunteer Reserve Decoration (VRD) in 1997.

Exclusively men
It is estimated that 60 percent of middle aged men suffer from a prostate problem.
While prostate cancer affects one in ten males, it is Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia ( BPH ) that is the most common form of prostate trouble.
The prostate is a small gland that makes up part of the male reproductive system. About the size of a walnut and surrounds the neck of the bladder. It’s function is to secrete fluids, which lubricate the urinary tract and aid the movement of sperm. These secretions make up half of the volume of semen. As men reach middle age this gland frequently enlarges, squeezing the urethra and obstructing urine flow. This condition becomes known as Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia. Symptoms include the need to pass urine frequently, particularly during the night, difficulty in starting and starting urine flow, strong urges to urinate and a feeling of not having completely emptied the bladder.
Natural help for BPH include vitamins, minerals and herbs to provide essential nutrients and help reduce inflammation and the size of the prostate gland. More zinc is found in the sex organs, including the prostate gland, seminal fluid and sperm, than in any other part of the male body.
Zinc benefits the prostate by blocking the enzyme that converts testosterone to dilhydrotestosterone, a stronger hormone that increases prostate size.
Recent research shows that the herb Serenoa serrulata or Saw Palmetto can relieve the symptoms of BPH by altering the level of various hormones that cause prostate cells to multiply. In addition, Saw Palmetto may act to reduce inflammation and reduce tissue swelling.
All men approaching middle age should consider taking a well formulated prostate specific supplement as a preventative measure, and to help treat existing prostate conditions. Other nutrients of value in prostate conditions are the antioxidant vitamins A and E and herbs such as Saw Palmetto and pumpkin seed oil to reduce pain and inflammation, Horsetail and Nettles to strengthen and support the urinary system.
Thompson’s Exclusively Men’s Prostate Formula may be used to alleviate the symptoms of prostate enlargement (BPH) and inflammation of the prostate. Symptoms include the need to pass urine more frequently ( especially at night), difficulty in starting and stopping urine flow, strong urges to urinate and a feeling of not having completely emptied bladder.
Prostate Formula combines important nutrients and herbs to help maintain normal prostate function and to aid in the treatment of prostate conditions.
Thompson’s Prostate Formula can be found at the Cook Islands Pharmacy. -Tiare Ponini

Last Sunday...
What would you do on your usual Sunday? Would you get out your building tools and start working on your house? Would you climb up on the roof and set up the solar heating? Nah, I don’t think so. But that’s exactly what my dad did, along with a family friend, Ralph. They were banging away with their hammers and it was really disturbing, especially for someone who is trying to catch up on some sleep. I mean, I did want to have hot water, but hot water could wait until Monday. I did my best to ignore it, and believe me, it was easier said than done.
When all the commotion was over, we had guests arrive on our doorstep. They had brought their kids along and man, it was crowded. After all, we only had a small veranda. Mum made a very smart decision to go underneath the coconut tree, where it was cooler and above all, more spacious. I went and put a couple of beers in the freezer for the oldies (Look at that. Drinking on a Sunday. Tsk tsk...lolz) It was going to be a wild night for these guys. Ugh.
Aunty Kath saved us all when she suggested that we go to her place for a kaikai, so our entertainment was all sussed out. In the meantime, my parents would take their lovely time drinking with our guests. Blah! I, in turn, had to do some of the cooking. My parents must’ve had a death wish, because they reckon that anything I cook is poisonous (I wasn’t complaining though. If that’s what they thought, then it would save me from cooking) Dad had stocked a whole carton of Steinlager and Heineken (Where he got the money to purchase these items, remain a mystery) Mum had her bottle of Verdi , green apple flavoured. Whatever, Mum...lolz.
Two (maybe three) hours later, we all walked up to Aunty Kath and Uncle Ralph’s place. I brought a pineapple pie along with me, which was already half eaten. The kiddies, all below the age of five, tagged along as well. Ralph had promised them that there would be a pool for them and plenty of ice cream, so of course they couldn’t resist. Dad didn’t come for unknown reasons. Mum wasn’t going to miss out on a good time, so she brought her bottle of wine along and a happy-go-lucky attitude.
Ralph was busy on the barbeque while Aunty Kath was minding my gorgeous, little cousin, Talia. The other “brat”, Moana was fast asleep. I walked in quietly and tried not to disturb him. I ran straight to the kitchen and put my pineapple pie in the fridge. There was this beautiful chocolate cake sitting on top of the fridge’s shelf, just calling out to me. I was tempted to cut me a piece, but I fought against it and reluctantly closed the fridge. The old bags (with the exception of Aunty Kath, of course) were enjoying themselves, talking about random stuff that I wouldn’t find interesting. Finally the magic moment came and the barbeque was ready. It was a really lovely feed, my -Norma Ngatamariki

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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