HERALD WEEKLY ISSUE 600: 25 January 2012

News Briefs

The Demos: a credible alternative
I must admit that I have been a very, very hard critic of Prime Minister Henry Puna and his government in this column since assuming authorship of it. For that, some people may rightly say, well, Papa Wilkie hits the nail on the head every time but what can he and his Democratic Party offer? So today, I extend an olive leaf as a peace gesture to my “political enemies” (many of them are actually good friends of mine) and I also conduct a self- examination of what the Demos offer as an opposition and if it becomes the government.
I’m doing this because two things happened to me recently. First, a much respected lady friend of mine said to me in the Westpac Bank recently that “you” (meaning the Democratic Party) has been in deep sleep and “you can only be as good as the government”. She made me think of a rugby game or a boxing match. If your team is playing badly, it makes the other team look good as would an awful boxer against an ordinary opponent. Secondly, in my church, the Cook Islands Christian Church of Matavera, the new Minister several Sundays ago preached the virtues of these simple words, “love your enemy”.
Ooh, alrite, I haven’t gone “wussie” but it made me want to put out to readers the question as to whether “Tioni” and “Mere” public out there know what the party I am a member of stands for. I would like to think that people have made a mistake in throwing us out of office at the last elections. And, it would be most pleasing to be assured that the performance of the current Cook Islands Party government is so woeful that people expect the Demos to step up and lead well next time round. But I believe, we must earn it and must develop policies that propose us as a credible alternative instead of the CIP government.
In order to have good starting point, the Demos “reconciled” and differences between personalities were put aside in order to move forward. Now, that’s a very, very positive start and that’s very much in the spirit of the Matavera Papa Orometua’s message. But how do we move forward? I believe and I will speak honestly and from the heart that the next thing to do would be to settle on a strong, capable leader as soon as possible. If left too late, the ship of opportunity could well sail on and leave the Demo’s adrift and scrambling to put its case forward to the public in the last two years of this term. When a party is comprehensively beaten as would a rugby team or a boxer, it would naturally endeavour to do better and must not be complacent and expect miracles.
That’s where the Demo is – at the rebuilding stage and is seeing things realistically. Believe me, there will be a new image and spirit of co-operation. It will hold steady and steadfast on its principles to create wealth and good health for our people. It will not sacrifice the Cook Islands marine resources for a pittance and it will not sell its soul for “gifts with a hook” from China, South Korea or any other country come bearing gifts.
If I had anything to do with it, the Demos will never compromise its sovereignty and it will create the best education system for Cook Islanders. It will look after the disadvantaged; the elderly and the vulnerable and it will create jobs and not chase away our qualified people wanting to work in the Cook Islands (I know of two young women with degrees, MSc for one and BA for the other who were not even given a look in by this Government despite numerous applications). Several highly qualified people have left for overseas jobs already. An experienced policy writer from the PM’s Dept is leaving his office and may possibly go overseas. There is now a sense of “political patronage” attached to employment. Sad, sad, sad, unfortunately the CIP just cannot shake that culture of “micromanagement and nepotism”.
Aah, there I go again, criticising the government. I’m sorry, it’s my job and part of it is to make the Government look bad and be professional about it. Happy reading and catch you in the next column. Ka kite. -By Wilkie Rasmussen, Deputy Leader of the Opposition Party

Suicide report
Last weekend a suicide was reported to the Police at 1.25pm, Saturday afternoon.
The body of the 16 year old girl was found in her home in Arorangi. She was taken to the hospital where an autopsy was carried out by the Hospital’s Coroner. “When our officers reported to the incident and did a scene examination it was obvious to them that the girl had died by suffocation secondary to hanging,” Inspector John Strickland told the Herald on Wednesday morning.
The Coroner had confirmed the cause of death and reported her time of death to be between 11am and 12pm midday. There was no sign pointing to a suspicious death.
Inspector Strickland said that he was told by the deceased’s family and friends that she had shown no sign of having any suicidal intentions.” Her family, friends and the public are in mourning for her,” said Inspector Strickland.
“Suicide happens all over the world so it is not uncommon that the Cook Islands does have a few cases, but in the past two years we have had more cases than we have ever had in a very long time, most of them being between 15 years of age to 25,” said Inspector Strickland.
The Inspector also said he believes the public needs to take this more seriously, that parents and communities need to show more support for their kids and to the few organizations that we have on the island who campaign to stop suicide.
“Everyone at some point in their lifetime will experience periods of anxiety, sadness and despair. It will do the public good if everyone was to learn more on the reasons and signs of suicide.” -Tiare Ponini

A bike with power for more
The Herald’s expert takes the new Honda Wave 110 for a test drive

Looking for that ideal motorcycle? I decided to take a look at the new Honda Wave 110 available from the Cook Islands Motor centre. Known for being the good guys I took a short trip down to find out what the big fuss was about.
On arrival at the Motor Centre I was greeted by Sales Representatives Olly and John.
Being a huge Honda enthusiast, I walked in telling them I wanted to take a look at the new Honda Wave. I walk up to the bike, while being told that unlike its predecessors which were powered by 100cc engines with a carburettor mounted , the new Honda Wave boasts a fuel efficient fuel injection system. Running in a cool 110cc. Coupled with an engine sensor which helps the bike adjust to the weather and engine state of the vehicle on each start.
A push of the electric button brings the bike roaring to life. Deep subtle pitch from the muffler hides what true power lies behind this vehicle. Take off and handling is gentle that it’s almost unbelievable. Instant throttle response makes the Honda Wave 110 the best bike on the market for any person. Be it for going to school, work or just for play, the Honda Wave will take every beating and still have power for more.
The Honda Wave is backed up by the Good Guys at the Motor Centre who also carry every part that you would need, from, guards to light bulbs, right down to the screws.
So head on in to Motor Centre and test drive the new Honda Wave 110. You won’t be disappointed.

Work Dilemma
Most teenagers would raise Hell if their parents interrupted their sleep but I, on the other hand, had no choice but to obey my mother’s command of “Get up”. No tantrums, no complaining, just waking up and getting my stuff sorted. To make the situation worse, I slept at three in the morning and that’s a real problem when you have to wake up at seven. No mercy, man. If I was gutsy enough to back chat to my mum, then Pah! She wouldn’t have hesitated to slap me on the back of my head.
Why was my mother waking me up at such a ridiculously early hour? Because I had to go to work. I know, it’s the lamest excuse, but somebody has got to write this column. And honestly, it’s a boring place without me at work (Jokes) My mum said that “the early bird catches the worm”. I’m like, “Birds don’t get up this early.” So I got up, trying to figure out what outfit I was going to wear for the day, what perfume I was going to use, if my articles were up to standard, blah, blah, blah. I don’t want to bore you with the details, reader.
Dad let me drive to work for the whole week (What a cool guy. Love you, old bag). Even though he said I needed a little adjustment with my speed limit (So what if I travel at 50km/h? I don’t want to be another Mr Miyagi) We arrived to work in one piece and it looked like the other staff were waiting for someone to unlock the door, even though there are four keys floating around. Maybe after a ten minute wait, our “saviour”, Mr. Charlie Rani came with a key.
Tiare, Te Riu (Work colleagues of mine) and I were put in charge of collecting news for the Radio. I’m going to be very honest with you, reader. I totally sucked at doing this and I really considered myself to be useless. I could only pick up 2-3 pieces of news (which is nothing compared to what Tiare and Te Riu did) and when I was asked to announce the news, my voice would get all jittery and I’d make a tonne of mistakes. Blow this, I thought to myself. I’m not putting myself through that kind of embarrassment again.
I hate Wednesdays for a number of reasons. To start things off, it means that we have to rush things over and try to finish early because nobody wants to be stuck at work after 5pm. Then I have to collate the papers together and trust me, it’s not as easy as it sounds. You have to have a lot of stamina to get through this job. My mum gets really peed when we don’t finish on time, so I try my best to go faster. At the end of the day, the job gets done and I end up with a fat pay packet. -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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