HERALD WEEKLY ISSUE 608: 21 March 2012

Leap year baby

Rarotonga Hospital report just one baby born on Wednesday 29 February, a date which comes around only once every four years. At 6.57am a healthy 7 pound 5 ounce girl was born to Arorangi mother Rangi Rau. The birth was attended in the Hospital’s Maternity Ward by Dr Lyn assisted by Mid-Wives Louisa Tetava and Toru Vaeau. Mother and baby are both well.

Visiting Chinese

His Excellency Mr Li Qiangmin, Special Envoy for the China-Pacific Islands Forum Dialogue visited the Cook Islands from 23 to 25 February 2012. The purpose of Ambassador Li’s visit was to familiarize himself with the Cook Islands, discuss the upcoming Pacific Islands Forum arrangements, possible assistance from the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and various bilateral and international matters.
Accompanying the Special Envoy to the Cook Islands was His Excellency Mr Xu Jianguo, Ambassador of the PRC to the Cook Islands, and senior officials from the Chinese Embassy in Wellington and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing.
While in Rarotonga, the Chinese Ambassador signed with the Hon Tom Marsters, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Immigration, an Economic and Technical Cooperation Agreement providing for a grant of Renmimbi 20 million (approximately NZ$4 million) for projects yet to be identified.
“The Cook Islands places high value in its relations with the People’s Republic of China and this latest grant will greatly assist the Cook Islands in achieving the goals set out in the National Sustainable Development Plan,” said the DPM.
While in the Cook Islands, the Special Envoy and the delegation had useful discussions with senior Ministers and other officials on arrangements for the Forum and various ways in which the Cook Islands and the PRC could strengthen relations between the two countries.
The Chinese party left the Cook Islands on Saturday to return to Wellington and Beijing.
“The Cook Islands welcomes Mr Li’s visit as an indication of the very warm relations that exist between our two countries and looks forward to further building upon this strong foundation,” said the Deputy Prime Minister. - Foreign Affairs Media Release


The above media release is an example of yet another meaningless message put out by a Ministry which is rapidly coming under scrutiny for its performance in attempting to be “invisible.”
Where was the prior notice of this visit? (The Chinese don’t just show up suddenly).
Why was this release put out late? (Does this Ministry have a media strategy?)
What were the various bilateral and international matters discussed? (Too secret to mention?)
How long has this Economic and Technical Cooperation Agreement been in the pipeline? (Did the Chinese write it up on the plane coming over?)
What are the terms of the Agreement? (Are we bound to use Chinese technical experts?)
How was the figure of $4 million arrived at? (By toss of a coin?)
Why is the money being linked with the NSDP when under the Agreement, it is for projects yet to be identified?
Is there a time by which the grant must be utilized?
What were the various ways discussed to strengthen relations? (economic, social, relations?)
The second to last sentence is easily the highlight of the release. It says; “The Chinese party left the Cook Islands on Saturday to return to Wellington and Beijing.”
The bet is the Chinese couldn’t wait to get away from this place and that Ministry quick enough.

Prevention of cyber crime through community engagement

Cook Islands Police Sergeant Nga Pouao recently took part in the first ‘trainer the trainer’ course as part of ‘Cyber Safety Pasifika’ for Pacific Island law enforcement. The course was held on the Gold Coast in Australia.
“I was given the opportunity to go to the event to learn more on the dangers to young children or anyone misusing cyber space, so that I may come back here and enlighten the community about the risks of cyber space,” Sergeant Pouao told the Herald on Tuesday.
Pouao spoke about the need to focus on prevention and why.
• Resourcing – it is impossible to have police at the end of every computer being able to protect every citizen.
• Being Proactive – Police cannot prevent crimes before they have occurred by eliminating the opportunity for crime.
• Opportunities for community engagement – cyber crime prevention involves working with the community to eradicate issues around technology use. It allows the police to form positive relationships with the community which can lead to positive outcomes for other areas of policing
Representatives from Niue, Samoa, Tonga and the Federated states of Micronesia also attended and the new program may eventually roll out to include the entire Pacific region.
“Technology, young people and global crime, what do we do? We become Proactive, Preventive and Participatory in the community,” said Sergeant Pouao.
It has been recognised that as cyber use in the Pacific increases, there is a growing importance for cyber safety education for communities in the Pacific.
Therefore Cyber Safety Pasifika’ created the event to equip police in the various Pacific Island Countries with the knowledge and resources to educate their communities, including young people, teachers and parents, in all aspects of cyber safety.
Research indicates that Internet usage varies vastly across different Pacific Island countries, from an estimated 2 per cent in Kiribas to 84 per cent in Niue with the Cook Islands coming in at 52.3 per cent. With this in mind, the course was tailored to meet the very different needs of each country involved, bridging the gap between cyber use, awareness and education.

Social media and cyber crime

It is very important for people to know the risks they take in using social media,” said Sergeant Pouao.
The world has upgraded the internet use from focusing to accessing information online to what is known has web 2.0 user generated content.
Web 2.0 is often referred to as social media, ways of using technology to interact with others, friends, family or strangers. This means that people are using the web to share parts of themselves with others photos, videos, ideas and blogs online.
The most common example of what social media looks like is Facebook. With over 800 million users worldwide, it is the largest social networking site in the world. Other examples of social media include twitter, foursquare, myspace, linkedin and google plus.
Sergeant Pouao explained there are three defining characteristics of social networking sites.
• User Profiles
• Ability to search users through a database.
• And engage and interact with other users.
Sergeant Pouao warns parents to be cautious of what their children are using the internet for, either their lap top, desk top or mobile phones, as many things could go wrong if misused, such has cyber bullying and child exploitation.
Police would like to warn teens using social media of reputation management
• What happens on Facebook, doesn’t just stay on Facebook.
• Do not upload inappropriate images.
• Once something goes online it can never be deleted, it can be copied, forwarded, saved, posted elsewhere or cached.
• Invisible and unknown audience.
“Think before you post,” says Sergeant Pouao.

Reform must come

While government continues to dither and drag its feet over the issue of public sector reform, more families are by contrast, acting decisively. They are packing up and leaving the country. They can tell the ship is sinking.
Those who are leaving even include public servants seeking better rewards and private sector persons unable to get jobs because the jobs are just not there, especially for tradesmen.
Government’s hesitancy to stimulate the economy after going through two economic taskforce exercises, has resulted in a situation where a diminishing private sector is struggling to maintain a public sector demanding more and more revenue just to maintain itself. Operating expenditure is up by $5.2 million. It seems government has become so big it is now only interested in its own survival.
When vacancies occur in the public service and are filled with persons from the private sector, this diminishes the private sector work force. Government retains 16 per cent of the workforce while the private sector’s share of resources decreases. For example, when will government inject some money into the banking system to bring down the crippling interest rates faced by private businesses? What about some seeding finance at low interest rates for new businesses? What about financial support for those wanting to take on apprentices or trainees? More of the government tax take needs to be re-invested in private sector initiatives that will grow the economy rather than being spent on officials producing endless reports that go nowhere.
The cost of living is increasing and many families are now struggling although government does not seem to want to acknowledge that fact. Government must start cutting its costs and freeing up more money to inject into stimulating the private sector and getting growth going in areas other than tourism.
The time has come to start diversifying and urgently, into other revenue earning areas like fishing and agriculture.
The $55 million offer from the Canadian company Endeavour Mining is timely and should be seriously considered.
Despite this, government is falling over itself in a grab for the $4.7 million NZAid under-spend and the mysteriously low $4 million offer from China. The country cannot make any significant leap forward economically on $8.7 million. It is probably unlikely any of these funds will find their way into the private sector. Instead the $8.7 million will probably be used to prop up some obscure government project requiring a costly overseas consultant.

Motor Centre releases new Honda Wave in droves

On Monday afternoon Motor Centre released the new Honda Wave to 20 lucky owners. For the past 2 years motorists have been anticipating the launch of the new motorbike from Motor Centre and finally the wait is over. The new bike which is currently retailing at $3,345 from Motor Centre and for the 20 lucky new owners who preplaced their order and deposit they not only received the keys to their new motorbike but a $50 discount courtesy of Motor Centre. In conjunction Motor Centre were also running a $100 giveaway competition for participants that test drove the new Wave and entered their name into the draw where the winner was drawn on Monday.
Honda is renowned as one of the world’s leading motoring companies and Motor Centre’s Diane McFarlane suggest that not only is it the leading choice for the Cook Islands but it is also an idea economic motoring option using only “half a tank to circulate Rarotonga.” McFarlane assures Motor Centre’s abundant stock of the new Honda fleet and invites the public to test drive the new Wave at Motor Centre.

Generous grant to College by Rotary

Nukutere College received a donation of dictionaries on Wednesday by from Frank Leadley who is the current President of the Bay of Islands Rotary Club, New Zealand.
Leadley, a retired teacher, told the Herald that last year he and his wife arrived in the Cook Islands for a holiday with New Zealand High Commissioner John Carter. He mentioned to Carter a project that their Rotary club carried out, where they donated dictionaries to schools around their district. “So John asked if we could also give some to the schools here in the Cook Islands, so I went back and thought about it and took the idea to the club and they thought it was a fantastic idea, so we put together the funds and here we are.”
Before his retirement, Leadley had been Principal of Bay of Islands College for 22 years. “I have been in education all my life so I am very delighted to be in the position to present these dictionaries because they are a fantastic educational tool,” said Leadley.
250 books are being donated to Nukutere College and Tereora College who will receive theirs on Friday the 2nd for year 9 students. The books are a combination of a dictionary and a thesaurus.
Bay of Islands Rotary Club has elected a new President, Ben Bob and he will arrive next week and will present some dictionaries.
The Rotary Club of Bay of Islands are making the donations in association of the Rotary Club of Rarotonga.

War veteran stuck in NZ by law

New Zealand law is preventing an injured Vietnam veteran from taking his war disability pension and superannuation home to Rarotonga. Bill Framheim, who is currently living in Porirua, served in the New Zealand army and paid taxes here for 26 years, but has to be separated from his family in the Cook Islands to still receive money from the Government. The veteran said the rules are a “bit cruel”. “I thought I was a New Zealander then, but now I don’t feel like it.”
Under New Zealand law Framhein cannot receive Government money in another country because he has not lived here for five consecutive years after turning 50. Lieutenant General Don McIver from the New Zealand RSA agrees the rules are harsh, and wants the law changed so the war pension can be taken overseas. “I think it’s totally inappropriate for this man, who has given his service to New Zealand.”At the moment we are basing our hopes on the fact the War Pensions Act 1954 is to be rewritten and that is in the process now.”
As a result of the law, Framheim must spend half of every year separated from his wife, who works in Rarotonga, and the rest of his family. The Government is looking at the policy and agrees the veteran has a case worth arguing. But it said the issue is not a priority while it deals with the devastation in Christchurch. “All of the items of expenditure that currently sit on the wishlist are on hold while we swallow the large challenge of rebuilding Christchurch,” said Foreign Minister Murray McCully.
Framheim said he just does not want to live in New Zealand any more.

Herald Issue 608 21 March
- Terms of one China Policy document should be reviewed
- Pacific Media Assistance Scheme Seeks Innovation
- Successful NZ visit by PM
- Rerekura Teaurere New Climate Change Coordinator
- News Briefs

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