HERALD WEEKLY ISSUE 608: 21 March 2012

Insert Text HereNews in Brief

Selina & the Democratic Party
Congratulations to Mrs Selina Matenga Napa for successfully securing the candidacy for the Democratic Party in the Titikaveka by-election to be held next month. Congratulations also to the Democratic Party Committee of Temorimotia for making a wise choice and for handling the selection process very well. Congratulations also to the other two candidates that showed commitment for the Demos and showed cordiality in and acceptance of the whole process.
A mother, homemaker, caretaker, sportswoman - Sel’s selection says a lot about the people of Titikaveka and about the increasing need for more women in Parliament. What arose from the passing away of the Hon Robert Wigmore was an opportunity for the village to pave the way and make a political statement to the world that it supports the national and global drive for gender balance. How appropriate it is that the village of Temorimotia, a proud people and potent ambassadors of the Cook Islands take that lead.
No-one is more suited to become a Member of Parliament than Selina Matenga Napa. She grew up in a life of politics with her father being one of the founding members of the Democratic Party and serving several terms as a Democratic Party Member of Parliament for his beloved village. Her father Dr Teariki Matenga left for his family and Sel in particular a legacy steeped in support for the Democratic Party when he assumed the position of President of the Demos for some years and was held in high esteem to his dying bed as Patron of the Demos. If anyone is to be bestowed an award in loyalty, it will have to be Sel’s father in whose footsteps Sel is following.
However while the Democratic Party boasts a strong tradition of ensuring gender balance and equality and women participation in politics, Selina herself knows the sacrifices of one makes in the game of politics and of course the vices that come with it as well. Being an MP can be a demanding and also and ungrateful job but those that persevere may prove yet that they are there to serve their people. And that’s what Selina is proposing; to be a servant for her village and her people and of course to serve the nation.
Selina, if elected will go down into the history books amongst an illustrious list of Democratic Party women Members of Parliament. We have none other than the long serving Hon Ngamau Munokoa of Nikao, who held with distinction various Ministerial portfolios and topped that service with being Deputy Prime Minister. Others include Hon Maria Heather from Ruaau, a former Minister, Hon Cassie Eggleton (Aunty Cass) who became within a very short time in politics Deputy Speaker of Parliament and then a Minister. There was also the Hon Mama Ngai Tupa, the mother of Takuvaine/Tutakimoa who served in Parliament with distinction.
My point is that the Democratic Party is much more pro-active in ensuring the participation of women in politics barring preferential treatment. These women stood and won on their own terms and indeed achieved much of what they believed in.
Earlier this year, after being elected as Leader of the Opposition I made an announcement that it will be a particular platform for the Democratic Party to promote women and have them take part more in Cook Islands politics. With Selina we are doing exactly that and come on Titikaveka, GIVE SEL A GO! -Wilkie Rasmussen, Leader of the Opposition

This Chinese deep sea Sub will plunder the ocean floor for mineral riches
While it may not be able to reach the same seven-mile mark as James Cameron’s deep-sea vessel, the Jiaolong manned submersible could provide so much more.
The Jiaolong is an 8.2-meter long, 22-ton scientific research vessel and the result of years of stealth development by the Chinese government. It was initially devised as part of the 863 Plan, a high-tech R&D initiative enacted in 2002.
The Jiaolong made its first test-run in 2010, diving to 3000 meters. A subsequent test in 2011 saw the sub dive past 5000 meters, making it one of only five submersibles in the world capable of exceeding 3500 meters—the others belonging to the US, France, Russia and Japan. Tang Jialing, Fu Wentao and Ye Cong comprise the submersible’s three-man crew. Ye both helped design the vessel and has been its pilot on 28 of the previous 37 dives.
If the sub does reach its operational limit of 7000 meters during an upcoming test-dive in June, the Jialong will become the only sub of the five capable of diving beyond 6500 meters. At 7km below the surface, the Jiaolong will have access to 99.8 percent of the seafloor—assuming it can withstand the crushing pressure.
With that sort of range, the Jiaolong will play an essential role in deep-sea exploration, both scientific and commercial. The company that helped design and build the submersible, the China Ocean Mineral Resources R&D Association (COMRA) has contracts with the International Seabed Authority to photgraph and survey 75,000km swaths of the seabed in return for rights to “explore minerals and other resources for commercial purposes in this area once the technology matures,” said Jin Jiancai, COMRA’s secretary-general.
And as the price of precious metals and rare earth element commodities steadily rise, the ability to explore virtually the entire undersea landscape, which covers 70 percent of the Earth, and mine subsequent discoveries are sure to provide a sizable bounty for any country able to reach them. “The range between 6,000 and 7,000 meters below sea level is rich in resources,” Yan Kai, the team’s chief engineer said. “Therefore, we need to have our submersibles explore and conduct research in this range.”

Teachers creativity and innovation: A key to success in the Pacific
The Secretary of Education, Sharyn Paio, and the Director of ITC, Robert Matheson, attended the two day “ICT in Education Leadership Forum” held in Sydney, Australia 1-2 May at the invitation of the Commonwealth Secretariat.
The objective of the forum was to explore how ICT has been integrated into teaching and learning; review the issues, challenges and initiatives related to ICT; and to introduce the UNESCO ICT Competency Framework for Teachers (CFT).
The workshop reconfirmed current strategies in place by the Ministry of Education regarding hardware supply, online delivery modes and the place of technology in the classroom as being in line with current international best practice.
It further highlighted the work done by the Ministry in developing an ITC benchmarking tool and provided an international framework in which to align our internal competencies indicators.
The ability to have open discussion with industry partners Microsoft and the Commonwealth of Learning was extremely valuable. The Ministry will continue discussions with Microsoft for an all schools licensing package and has obtained many valuable open educational training resources that can be used for teacher training and development. The training resources obtained are a mixture of online programs (that can be hosted internally) and lessons learned documentation from implementation programs active in other countries.
The forum provided the Ministry of Education with resources, partners and the confidence to continue with our planned implementation of technology across the curriculum and improve the learning opportunities of our students.
Robert Matheson
Director of ICT – Ministry of Education

New look Budget expected Ministries asked to cut allocations by 7%
Expect a new look Budget this time round, packing more detail than previously and easier to read.
Also, the Herald understands Ministries must cut budgets by 7% although the Finance Secretary has not confirmed this.
On Monday the Herald asked Finance Secretary Richard Neves to confirm several issues in relation to the upcoming Budget and his response is referred to below.
On the different nature of the Budget in relation to previous years, he advised it will differ in the way the information is presented.
He said there will be a lot more information provided and the document will probably have an easier flow.
On the timing of the Budget, he advised the Budget process was still going ahead as planned and although the timetable may have slipped by a few days, MFEM still had enough room up its sleeve to deliver the Budget prior to the 30th of June for implementation on 1 July. The Finance Secretary does not envisage any delay that would require government to go through a supply period (what the 1/12th is commonly known as).
As to the practice of using depreciation to help balance the Budget, he said depreciation is a problematic issue. He said that the move away from cash budgeting to an accrual budgeting has left government with the problem of depreciation adding to the operating balance, however the measure that should be used is a fiscal balance, which nets out the non cash items.
He said government is transforming the budget documentation this year so it will be quite a different document this year, and there will be a special day with the media and the opposition to go through the paper work.
The Financial Secretary was asked to confirm if Ministries had been asked to make savings however he has not yet done so. The Herald understands Ministry finance officers have been instructed by MFEM that next year’s allocation will the same as for the current year except that Ministries will need to make savings. Ministries have been asked to make savings of 2 percent on personnel and 7 percent on operations. Also all uncommitted allocations are required to be returned to MFEM. The Herald understands Ministries have been asked to justify their vehicles. It is rumoured that vehicles seldom used may go into a pool. -Charles Pitt

Letter to the editor Obsession with travel
Dear Editor,
The daily newspaper seems to have an obsession with the travels of the Ministers and the Prime Minister in particular.
Surely it is part of our culture to take part in tere parties except that the Ministers and Prime Minister are meeting overseas leaders at international conferences which will be of benefit to our country. Most of their travel expenses are provided by the host countries anyway.
When the Prime Minister visited the Cook Islands people living in the South Island, that was also questioned by the newspaper. Since when did keeping in touch with your own people become something that needs to be justified? According to all concerned, the New Zealand based Cook Islanders were amazed and delighted to have the opportunity to meet the Prime Minister and get the latest news from their ancestral homeland.
The newspaper even objects to Prime Minister visiting his own constituency in Manihiki. What on earth is wrong with visiting his own home island? In the last administration, the Speaker of the House used to live in his home island whenever he had the opportunity and that is how it should be, so why is there a double standard when it comes to the PM?
Impartial observer.

Matenga Stands Against Sister in Titikaveka by-election

The Cook Islands Party has announced its candidate for the Titikaveka by-election, Teariki Matenga Jnr. The by-election, which will take place on June 21, will see Matenga stand against his own sister, Democratic Party candidate Selina Napa. Coming from a family background of extensive involvement in politics, Matenga stated, “When we had the endorsement with the CIP central committee, it was mentioned that I am more than ready to enter the world of politics. It was actually mentioned that I am a seasoned politician today – and rightfully so. With my previous involvements in local government, counselor from 1998 for a three-year term and then I was the mayor for two and a half years.”
Matenga’s priorities will be in improving the living, health and economic standards for residents of Titikaveka and he placed an emphasis on the need for more effective community policing in order to combat the theft that is occurring. He says also the cost of living has escalated over the years and is an issue that needs to be addressed. He will also look into continuing the work started in the village in the area of improving sanitation. “I will be pursuing that… as an advocate of the Takitumu Lagoon Project over the years. That knowledge that I have, the understanding and the insights of how it works, can benefit our people in Titikaveka.”
The three-horse race between brother, sister and independent candidate Te Ava Iro is shaping up to be a memorable one for Titikaveka.

Large gathering of Pacific Leaders expected for Pacific Leaders Forum
The Cook Islands will host the largest gathering of Pacific leaders ever to assemble in Rarotonga when they arrive for the 43rd Pacific Islands Forum (chaired by Prime Minister, Hon Henry Puna) and related meetings in late August.
Preparations for the 2012 Forum are well underway, with much planning going on behind the scenes.
And it’s not only Pacific leaders who will be visiting during this time. Indications of interest in attending have been received from leaders, governments and the private sector from around the globe.
A small management team chaired by the Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Immigration has been established. The other members include the Chief Executive Officer to the Prime Minister, the Chief of Staff of the Prime Minister (OPM) and the Financial Secretary. This team is supported by senior officers of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration and the OPM.
Ms Jaewynn McKay has been appointed as the Overall Forum Logistical Coordinator and is charged with overseeing the delivery of a successful, well-managed and fiscally responsible Forum by organising, coordinating and facilitating the overall logistical planning for the Forum and Related Meetings.
Jaewynn, of Cook Islands and Papa’a descent recently relocated to Rarotonga from Wellington where she had been based for 18 years. During this time she held senior positions in the Ministry of Maori Development, the Department of Corrections, Telecom New Zealand and Ministerial Services. During her time in the NZ Parliament she worked for three Cabinet ministers in three administrations.
Assisting Jaewynn will be a team of Workstream Coordinators. Thus far 19 Workstreams have been identified and coordinators are currently being confirmed. One of these coordinators is Ms Teina MacKenzie, who has been coordinating the Accommodation Workstream for several months. In this role Teina has been working with likely delegations to the Forum and local accommodation providers options on Rarotonga and Aitutaki in determining options that best meet the requirements of the individual delegations.
Founded in 1971 as the South Pacific Forum, the Cook Islands is a founding member along with Australia, Fiji, Nauru, New Zealand, Tonga and Western Samoa (now Samoa). The name change in October 2000 to Pacific Islands
Forum was done to better reflect the geographic location of its members in the north and south Pacific.
The Pacific Forum currently comprises 16 Member Countries - Australia, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. Fiji’s membership of the Pacific Forum was suspended in May 2009.
The following meetings will be held as part of the overall Forum:
Monday 27 August 2012
• Smaller Islands States Leaders’ Meeting
Tuesday 28 August 2012
• Pacific ACP Leaders’ Meeting
• Official Opening 43rd Pacific Islands Forum
Wednesday 29 August 2012
• Pacific Islands Forum Plenary Session
Thursday 30 August 2012
• Forum Leaders’ Retreat – to be held in Aitutaki
Friday 31 August 2012
• 24th Post-Forum Dialogue Partners’ Plenary Session
In addition to the above meetings, other meetings and side events are currently being finalised. As plans evolve and are confirmed, further communications can be expected.
The Cook Islands last hosted the South Pacific Leaders Forum (as it was known then) in September 1997, chaired by then Prime Minister Sir Geoffrey Henry.

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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