HERALD WEEKLY ISSUE 608: 21 March 2012

News Briefs

Tax: Where the CIP and Demos differ
Under the Leadership of Papa Tom Davis, the first Democratic Party Government dragged the country out of perpetual “red budgets” into the “black.” Many hailed this to be a significant milestone in the financing and running of the country. When the Cook Islands Party took over as government where we acquired the status of being “Self-Governing in Free Association with New Zealand” it racked up debts that depended on New Zealand assistance to bail the country out of. Since 1965, the Cook Islands was run on an oily rag and became dependent on aid until of course the Democrats took over in the early 1980’s.
Historical fact shows that the Democratic Party Government found it futile to continue the same way and introduced “Turnover Tax” a consumption tax proposed to have a much broader tax base for the Government besides income tax and some excise tax (levies). It was essentially a tax on what people spend not on their income but it had no refunding mechanism if you so happen to pay more than necessary. What Papa Tom introduced was an example of fundamental restructuring so that there is a long term benefit, which this Government unfortunately did not see fit to bring forth. That’s when the Cook Islands started producing budgets with surpluses.
What evolved directly from Turnover Tax was the current Value Added Tax that we have today. It is an excellent tax but it grew out of the Cook Islands Government under Sir Geoffrey Henry whose administration experienced budget blowouts because of extraordinary spending. In other words it took a crisis to shape a suitable consumer tax regime.
I am saying and have said it many times in the past that the Democratic Party is the builder and the CIP is the spender of the two. The former is the creator and the latter is the destroyer. For instance, The Demo’s in mid 2006 abolished all levies except levies on tobacco, alcohol, fuel and motor vehicles. The idea was to make goods much more affordable for our local people. This was the good work of Sir Terepai Maoate and he was extremely mindful that things like wine which tourists like to drink were also exempt. He also exempted pork, eggs, products that our local people can produce.
But all that wonderful logic and sensitivity has now been slowly stripped away by to me mindless excise tax imposed by the current Government and all in the name of promoting good health. I’m not so sure about that style of governance where the Government starts to dictate to people what they drink, inhale or how they live their life. It starts to sound like state controlled measures that one only finds in places like China and Russia.
Over the last couple of days, Parliament has been debating the Appropriation Bill tabled by the Minister of Finance the Hon Mark Brown and the challenges I raised has been fierce and relevant. The Opposition has now raised the benchmark for anything the Government introduces into Parliament and will scrutinize them thoroughly for the sake of the members of the public. However I cannot help but feel sorry for those low and middle income people that cop the burden of the taxes and levies because goods will simply become harder for them to afford. It’s as simple as that. -Leader of the Opposition Wilkie Rasmussen

Fisheries Symposium hosts regional guests
On Monday at the Edgewater Resort, the first day of a three day symposium hosted by the Ministry of Marine Resources (MMR) to address those particular issues felt here in the Cook Islands got underway.
The participants were from the Federated States of Micronesia and Marshall Islands including the Executive Manager of Papua New Guinea Fisheries Management, Ludwig Kumoru.
The first session focused on the industries current integrating management systems, (IMS), which plays a fundamental role in managing any illegal, unregulated or unreported fishing activities. Upgrading the Cook Islands IMS structure would not only mean access to all sources of fisheries data, catch documentation schemes and scientific catch analysis but would lead to efficiently sustaining a large portion of the Cook Islands EEZ.
Papua New Guinea is responsible for 10% of the world’s total tuna supply and the systems that they have put in place to handle the sheer size and scale of their operation may be something the Cook Islands with its large EEZ, could consider adopting. -Maria Tanner

MP Norman George says, the appropriation allocated for the Ministry of Agriculture is not enough to help local growers in the outer islands. The total net appropriation for the ministry is $787,795, and George says, the appropriation allocated for the Ministry of Agriculture will not help revive the industry in the outer islands. In Parliament yesterday, George questioned government on why the ministry was given such a small amount compared to the $13.5million allocated for the Air New Zealand subsidy. The outspoken Atiu MP says, government is not analysing the figures properly and claims, the only ones benefiting from the subsidy are hotel owners and not the people of the Cook Islands.

The total Dividends due to Crown is estimated to reach around $2.1million in 2012/2013 which is a decrease of $1million on the $301 million expected to be received in the 2011/2012 budget. It’s understood, the decrease is predominantly due to a one off dividend provided by Te Aponga Uira during the 2011/2012 appropriation. However, in this budget, the CI Investment Corporation will conduct a State Owned Enterprise reform programme that will result in the development of a dividend policy to provide bother government and the SOE’s transparency in terms of requirement around dividend levels.

Visiting energy efficiency experts
Two energy efficiency experts will be visiting the Cook Islands from June 18th to 29th as part of phase two of the ADB funded project being conducted in five Pacific nations, known as PEEP-Promoting Energy Efficiency in the Pacific.
The announcement was made last week by local Energy Efficiency (EE) expert Terekino (Tino) Vaireka of the Cook Islands team and his Thailand based supervisor Felix Gooneratne an international expert in the field of energy efficiency.
The project is well underway with the second quarter about to swing into action with Gooneratne arriving on 18 June and staying through to the 20th and Mr Sommai Phon-Amnuaisuk an energy efficiency expert in the area of Lighting, arriving on 22nd June and staying through to the 29th.
During his visit, Gooneratne plans to;

• Offer detailed mentorship & support for the formulation of the 2nd Quarter workplan.
• Assist develop & formulate the Fridge/Freezer Replacement program under the Output 2 & 3, initiative that was approved in principle by ADB in the Inception report submitted in May 2012.
• Offer mentorship to the National EE expert
• Offer assistance to the Renewable Energy Division Office at the OPM on issues surrounding PEEP2 and Renewable Energy (RE) targets.
Lighting Expert Phon-Amnuaisuk aims to;
• Develop & design street lighting specifications under the Public/Private lighting program outputs 2 & 3, under this program, focus area earmarked are: Punanga Nui Market, Ports Authority - Avatiu & Airport Authority - Nikao.
• Develop & design EE specifications under the EE program outputs 2 & 3, once again focus areas are: Government Ministries & Crown agency buildings.
Both experts will be predominately based in Rarotonga at the Renewable Energy Division Office at the OPM. -Charles Pitt

Aqua farm to open in August
A new method of growing plants which could help ease food security concerns will be tried out in the Cook Islands. A New Zealand-based agency Pacific Islands Trade and Investment, has implemented the scheme in Rarotonga which combines aquaculture and hydroponics. The agency’ says the aqua farm will open in late August and describes the aquaponics method as using fish poo to grow plants. It’s understood, fish are grown in tanks and then the water is run through hydroponic trays - lettuce will be the first focus but anything can be grown, and the fish can also be eaten. The Pacific Islands Trade and Investment says there’s evidence that plants grow faster under aquaponic systems and uses only 15 percent of the land that would be required for traditional ground planting. He says the method may play an important role in future agriculture and says supermarket chains in the United States are looking at implementing aquaponic systems on their rooftops in order to get fresh produce without the carbon footprint.

Students put to the test

On Monday evening at the Hospitality and Tourism Training Centre in Turangi the Restaurant Service students, (Chefs section and Food and Beverage section) began their practicals for their Certificate Course which comprised the first half of this year’s tuition. Members of the public were invited to participate as real life, paying, restaurant customers as the students were put through their paces under the watchful eyes of their tutors. The funds will also be used to support the participation of three students, (two chefs and one food and beverage student), in the prestigious Toque d’or cooking competition in New Zealand in August. They will take part in the food and culinary section and the chef’s section. It is the second year the school has competed. Last year the school who were the only outside contestants and did well to pick up several awards.

Art for environment
Last week the 2012 National Environment Week ended with the judging of the SLM Recycled Sculptures Competition on Friday 8th June. With cash prizes up for grabs groups put lots of effort into creating a lagoon full of sea-life, larger-than-life starfish, octopi, sharks, turtles a penguin and even a mermaid!
Groups were also given a chance to promote their green practices such as the 4Rs of waste management - Refuse, Reduce, Reuse and Recycle, energy efficiency, involvement in environment events. It’s great to see more and more groups becoming environment-aware and more importantly practicing best green practices.
Winners for this event included the Filipino ‘Filcom’ Community, Bank of the Cook Islands, and Ministry of Education as first prize winners, followed by CINSF and Te Uki Ou and Titikaveka College sculptures as second and third prize winners. ANZ Bank, Westpac Bank, Imanuela Akatemia school and Tereora College all received consolation prizes. Cash prizes were sponsored by the NES/MOIP Sustainable Land Management Project.
On Wednesday evening, Environment Week was officially opened by Associate Minister for Environment, Atatoa Herman at the opening of the SLM Cloth Bag Art Exhibition. Local artists painted on calico bags in support of the Say Yes to Reusable Bags campaign. The final day for the exhibition is Wednesday 13th June, so pop in to The Art Studio in Arorangi to view and/or buy a locally-painted reusable bag.
The Aitutaki Vaine Tini embroidery work on cloth bags done for Environment Week is also in the exhibition, but these are not for sale.
The National Environment Service appreciates the support of all involved in the organised activities as well as those that took on their own initiatives to celebrate Environment Week.
Big thanks to The Art Studio, Ian and Kay George and the local artists, Ngatipa Store (Tupapa) and Rite Price (Arorangi) – the pilot stores for the reusable bags campaign, Aitutaki Vaine Tini Association, Te Ipukarea Society, Tamara Suchodolsky, Teresa Framhein, Jessie Sword, Louisa Karika, our media friends, and all individuals and groups for your participation. Final thanks to the Sustainable Land Management Project for your sponsorship of National Environment Week as well as the Taau Taku Tita 2012 Campaign partners.
Look forward to your participation in Lagoon Day 2012, July 12-13th.

Pearl Lounge gifts Miss Cook Islands title holders
Over the next few weeks three new Miss Cook Islands title holders will be on a tight schedule.
As part of the pageantry ceremonies each were kindly gifted with a pearl gift from the Pearl Lounge. The Meyer family operated, Arorangi based business are not only sponsors but also proud supporters of the Miss Cook Islands pageant.
Proprietors Gus and Sophie Meyer told the Herald, “We have a real love for the Miss Cook Islands Pageant and support the contestants in their endeavors under their individual roles. “
With a love of the pageant, Gus suggested that all three girls held a great chance at maintaining the Miss South Pacific title for the next three years. Maine Purotu Kate Ngatokorua, was presented with a pearl pendant necklace. Miss Cook Islands Teuira Napa was presented with a symmetric tear shaped pearl placed with an 18 carat tiare, the significance being a replica of the Miss Cook Islands flower said Gus. With a special acknowledgement of the Maine Tapaeru title, Gus and Sophie also wanted to pay special homage to the position that was formally held by their eldest daughter Joyana. It eventually launched her into the position of Miss South Pacific. The current holder Maine Tapaeru Antonina Browne was presented with a pearl studded strand representing the significance the title played for their family. -MAria Tanner

National Plan of Action for Sharks
The Ministry of Marine Resources (MMR) will hold a consultation on its National Plan of Action for Sharks starting on Thursday afternoon at 1pm and continuing Friday morning at New Hope Church, Avarua, Rarotonga.
Ben Ponia, Secretary of MMR, will lead the consultation which will include a presentation on global and regional shark issues by Dr Shelley Clarke, a recognized expert in the shark fin trade and Pacific shark fisheries.
Stakeholders are invited to express their views on shark conservation and management in the form of presentations or statements, and these views will be discussed in terms of potential policy interventions by MMR.
Ben Ponia stated “we are hoping that a lot of the stakeholders will attend because on Friday morning, MMR will present the proposed elements of the Plan and stakeholders will have further opportunity to voice their comments.”
For further information, please contact Rebekah Daniel, MMR Information Officer on telephone number 28721.

Second iFIMS Symposium

Participants from the Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, Papua New Guinea, Tonga and Vanuatu met in Rarotonga, Cook Islands from 11-13 June, 2012, to discuss the development of an Integrated Fisheries Information Management System (iFIMS) in each of the respective national fisheries administrations. The iFIMSproject is an initiative of the Cook Islands, FSM and RMI, who first met together in February in Pohnpei, FSM. Other participants in the iFIMSSymposium included representatives from FFA, SPC, WCPFC and DevFish2. The Symposium was facilitated by Nesh Petrovic of Taz-E Australia and funding support was provided by DevFish2 and the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission.
The purpose of the Symposium was to develop an Action Plan to implement the next phase of iFIMSfor the Cook Islands, FSM and RMI, who have all completed their Phase I scoping for iFIMS. Other participants gathered information to determine their next steps to cater for their information management needs.
On behalf of the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA), Papua New Guinea presented the PNA Fisheries Information Management System (PNA FIMS) to iFIMSSymposium participants. This presentation was a pivotal contribution to the work of iFIMSdevelopment for the countries involved.
The function of an iFIMSis to integrate relevant sets of fisheries-related information, both inshore and offshore, and make them available at the “press of a button”. The system will be in line with “best practice” data and information management, utilizing the latest technology to allow fisheries managers to make informed decisions in a timely manner. The iFIMSwill also allow for electronic exchanges on a national and regional basis involving partner agencies and the fishing industry itself.
Among the key outcomes was a commitment for participants to continue to engage with each other regularly in the coming months on the ongoing development of iFIMS in each respective national fisheries administration. Efforts to expand iFIMS to other Pacific Island Countries will also be undertaken as a result of the Symposium.
The iFIMS group will meet again in Majuro, Marshall Islands in January 2013.

It’s exams this week! The pressure is on! A hundred students crammed into one hall, with their faces down, pens scribbling away, a few people half asleep, some drifting off into space, others frustrated and others bored.
Everyone just wants to get out of there! People are pretty much wrapped up in their own world when it comes to doing exams. They don’t really have much of a choice as they’re chained to their desk for two hours, but when you’re sitting by yourself, with nothing else to do but answer questions and write 500 word essays about something you don’t even care about, every teenager would get seriously bored, especially if you don’t know the answers to any of those questions.
In every exam you have in high school, you’ll always have those few students who just sit around doodling on their tables, utterly bored and falling asleep, and then you’d see those students with their heads down, completely absorbed in their exam, it’s usually those students who were listening in class. Then there are some students, like me, who get really stuck into it for a while, and then get bored, lean back into the chair and zone out for a few minutes, but then dive straight back into it.
There’s always the students who leave really early whether they’re finished or not, and then there are the ones who stay for the entire thing, whether they’re finished or not too. There’s the students who literally don’t do anything, the ones who do something but don’t finish, and the intelligent ones who finish everything and walk out of the exam proud and relieved. It all comes down to how much you studied before the exam!
My trick to studying is to play a particular song over and over again while I’m studying, and then during my exam, I’ll hum the song in my head and it’ll help me remember the things I studied! Make sure it’s a good song because you’ll probably get sick of it after a while. There’s also the classic trick of creating little sentences where the first letter in each word stands for a certain fact. When I was younger, I had remembered the Reactivity Series for science, with the sentence, ‘Never Catch My Apple, ZILCO’, I know it’s ridiculous but it helped! It stood for, Sodium, Calcium, Magnesium, Aluminium, Zinc, Iron, Lead and Copper. SEE! I did this when I was in form four! And I still remember it! I think that was the only thing I actually remembered in my science exam. For English I had done another one of these sentences to remember specific language features for my exam, but that time it didn’t actually help because I forgot the sentence so here’s a small note for you, REMEMBER THE SENTENCE YOU MAKE!
So before your exam, well you know all the basics. Get a decent amount of sleep, drink water and have a healthy breakfast.
Relax and use your time wisely during the exam, and just keep this mind, those two hours you have sitting in that hall with a few sheets of paper in front of you, loaded with questions and blank spaces for answers, are the two hours that help in creating your future!
So do the best you can in you’re exam, because believe me, the more effort you put in to it, the happier you will be with the outcome. GOODLUCK! -Dante Numa

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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