HERALD WEEKLY ISSUE 608: 21 March 2012

News Briefs

Grim future for public servants
This column echoes the lamentations of the Cook Islands Workers Association’s President Anthony Turua who faced the stark reality of a Government budget that made public servants sacrificial lambs to balance its annual budget. The budget cuts two percent of its personnel expenditure so that it could save $703,268 and this cut will stay in place for the next three years. The budget also abolishes the long service bonuses of public servants with a view of saving $199,722, less than the given amount now for Ministerial Support offices and even for the Leader of the Opposition’s office. I make those contrasts to show the superficiality of the abolishment of the bonus because a reduction say of $30,000 from each the six Minister’s Support budgets including the Office of the Leader of the Opposition comes to $210,000. To me that appears to be a more favourable saving rather than get rid of the bonuses.
The doing away of the long service bonuses is a clear sign of the insensitivity and the non-caring nature of the Government of public servants and workers in general. It cements the view that all it wants from workers is tax, tax and more tax. The long service bonuses is one of those initiatives from the previous Democratic Party Government to keep high the spirits of public servants, get them to feel appreciated and keep them in the country. What we now know is that this Government wants to do away with any cash payment schemes – a nest egg therefore raided and destroyed.
What does this mean in the future? Well, the two percent cut was supposed to be funds designated for vacancies that were never filled and now they were taken away, what will the justification be for continuing it for another two years. It can only mean redundancies, job losses. Guess what then? There will be an increase in the outflow of people out of the Cook Islands to New Zealand and Australia. And take away their bonuses, work becomes just routine not a vocation with benefits to derive from. It is very communistic in approach and ideology.
The National Government of New Zealand took New Zealand thorough these practises some years ago and even the Lange Labour Government embarked on a similar path and both Governments paid dearly during election times. The Cook Islands Government is underestimating the will, power and solidarity of the Cook Islands Workers Association and there have been instances when these ordinary people grinding away day in and day out rallied and told the Government where to go. Remember the days of meetings at the Empire Theatre and the marches and the teachers protesting against cuts continuation of low salaries. Those were all during the days of the former Cook Islands Party Government. Guess what, we have the same philosophy, same political party despite new faces in it.
These two gestures by the Government are absolutely guaranteed to hit very hard on the people and workers in the outer islands. The one or two workers per households in the outer islands will cop the top end of high costs accentuated by the withholding tax, tax on tobacco and liquor – cost of fuel for instance, imported food. There is absolutely no relief for them and nor can I see any in the future. -Leader of the Opposition, Wilkie Rasmussen

A helping hand from Howard
Minister for Education, Tourism and Marine Resources, Hon Teina Bishop has engaged noted local writer/historian Howard Henry as an Advisor at his Support Office.
The Herald caught up with Howard on Wednesday morning at Bishop’s Office. Part of the Henry dynasty, Bishop told the Herald he was keen to engage Howard for his historical knowledge of the Cook Islands Party and what the party stands for. Howard will officially commence his duties in July but is already at the Support Office, settling in and becoming familiar with the workings of the Office.
For a person of his capabilities and achievements, Howard has certainly been keeping a low profile.
In 2009 he returned to Aitutaki from NZ to work on his block of land. In 2011 he came to Rarotonga and settled at Kii Kii.
Since 1972, Howard has worked in the NZ Government, Cook Islands Government, a NZ Local Body, various Community Trusts in NZ and he has been self employed running his own businesses.
In 2000, Howard established his own publishing company, “Sovereign Pacific Publishing Company” and through this vehicle he has written and published seven books on Cook Islands history and currently has three books in progress. Why the name “Sovereign?” It’s nothing to do with sovereignty. Howard named his company after his car, a Jaguar Sovereign. He said he formed his own publishing company because he wanted full control and to be in a position to write about local topics and not have publishing cost a fortune.
One of his books, “The Criminal Convictions of Albert Henry” was nominated for NZ’s Montana Book Awards in 2006 (non-fiction section).
Howard said he has not entered local politics because the Cook Islands Party has not asked him. He is very familiar with how the political machinery works having been an active member of the NZ Labour Party from 1982 to 1992. He was Chairman of the Bay of Islands Labour Electorate Committee and a NZ Council Executive Member representing Northland. From 1995-1996 he was Editor of Hansard in the Cook Islands Parliamentary Service.
An old boy of Tereora College, at Oxford University in the 1970s through a UNDP Scholarship, he gained a Certificate Diplomacy in International Law, International Politics and International Trade and Finance (with distinction). He also gained a Certificate in Foreign Affairs and Diplomatic Relations through the Department of Foreign Affairs in Canberra, Australia.
A good Rugby League player, when in England, he was a regular member of the Oxford University League team, played for the Southern England Rep side and played for the English Universities League team. -Charles Pitt

Local Contractor wins tender
Government’s renewable energy policy target is to convert 50% of our islands electricity sources to renewable by 2015 and100% by 2020. Leading the achievement of this target is the Prime Minister who is also the Minister for Energy and Renewable Energy. To demonstrate he is serious about achieving this target, Prime Minister Puna has asked for his office to be solarised. The good news is a local company has won the tender to do this work.
“I am glad a local company has won this tender which is evident that we have the capacity and the capability to help us achieve our policy target in our own country” said Prime Minister Puna.
“I especially wanted to show our Pacific Leaders coming to the Pacific Leaders Forum in August this year we are serious about renewable energy and I wanted to use my office as an example and a role model – and to have a local company install those panels makes it more special for me” he said.
At the request of the Cook Islands Government, the process for tendering and awarding of contract was done by the New Zealand Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) in Wellington with funding provided under the New Zealand Aid Programme. New Zealand High Commissioner John Carter said “I am pleased that we were able to run a fast, transparent and competitive process that enabled us to meet the tight deadlines for deliver for the project”.
Andersons is the successful bidder of the contract. “We were very pleased to have had the opportunity to bid for this project” said Steve Anderson, “and we are thrilled to have won the tender”.
Given government’s commitment to renewable energy, running the Office of the Prime Minister on solar power is very significant. It will also have quite tangible results. Mr Anderson shared some details of the project saying “The 16kW solar installation will produce over 24,000 kWh of electricity, save 7,000 liters of diesel fuel, and reduce the Cook Islands CO2 emissions by over 17,000kg, every year. All going well, this process will continue for at least the next 25 years”.
“We are able to use very high quality equipment, and are proud to include New Zealand made inverters, manufactured in Christchurch, which are ideally suited to this environment”.
“The project also includes special monitoring software, large video screens to show the solar energy production, and a custom website with live data display”.
“This project has an exceptionally tight time-frame. Work is expected to start immediately and be completed in the next six weeks, certainly before the Pacific Leaders Forum. However, we have much of the hardware, and all the skilled labour, here in Rarotonga, so we are confident of a fast and efficient installation” commented Mr Anderson.
OPM Media Release

Akameitaki’anga tei rauka ia Ruta Ngatokorua
Te rauka nei ia Mama Ruta i te akameitaki i te iti tangata no tei tauturu mai i tona makete na roto i te okooko atu anga i tana kai enua e pera te kai a tona au taeake tei apai mai nana e oko atu ki vao. Kua maata tikai te tangata tei aere mai i te oko kai tuketuke.Kare a mama Ruta i kite ana i teia akameitaki’anga tei tupu kia ia. Te rauka katoa nei iaia i te akamaroiroi i te au mapu tamariki apii no te apai mai i ta ratou apinga e manako ara ratou i te oko ki runga i te makete. Pera katoa tetai uatu e manakonako nei i te oko i taau kai, kia apai mai ki ko ia mama Ruta. Kare oki e tutaki no te taangaanga i te makete.
Kua piri katoa ana oki aia i roto i te au apii i te apii i te tamariki i te rangaranga kete oini. Ko tetai peu oki teia kare aia e inangaro kia akangaropoina`ia. Te pati nei aia ki tetai uatu e manono nei i te tamou i te au tu rangaranga kete kia aere atu i te aravei ia mama Ruta. Ka ariki rekareka aia i te tauturu e te apii mai iaau kare e tutaki.
Ka o katoa atu aia ki roto i te akamaneaanga i te ngai o te Ui Ariki, no te mea,kua tareniia aia i te angaanga peu maori. Te akakite nei aia e ko tana akameitaki’anga teia ki to tatou Ui Ariki, te Minita, te au akaaere tuketuke tei tauturu mai ana iaia i te taime i akatuia ei tona makete. -Bernadette Teremoana

Te Akairo o taku Ui Ariki

Mei tei akatango`ia e, ka aere te ngutuare akaruru`anga o te Ui Ariki ki Kavera Arorangi akatinamouia ai,kua pou mei te tai epetoma i te akateateamamao`anga i te marae. Kua riro te taunga maani marae a Nooroa Tuiravakai i te aru i teia parani’anga tei tau ki runga i ta tatou akono’anga peu maori i te maani’anga i te marae. Te akakite nei a Tou Ariki e, kare teia i te angaanga mama. Te vaitata nei oki teia marae i te oti, e 24 au toka e tamou`ia nei ki runga i te paepae. E akakite’anga teia e 24 au Ui Ariki i runga i ta tatou papature i roto nei i te Kuki Airani. Ko te tuanga toka tei akatakaia ki rotopu ko teia te ngai tei akatakaia kia noo te Peretiteni o te Ui Ariki. E aite’anga oki teia kia noo te Peretiteni e tona Ui Airiki i te Kuki Airani nei ki runga. Ko teia te au takainga e raverave nei te taunga maani marae. Te irinaki’anga ka oti mai tei reira i te openga o teia epetoma nei, mari ra me piritia tetai au tuanga ka topa atu ei a teia epetoma ki mua. I te pae mai i te marae, e tuanga tetai tei akatakaia ei toka vairanga’anga i te au akairo a te au Ui Ariki no nga pa enua mai. Te akamarama’anga a te taunga ka riro teia ngai ei kopu no te tangata. Mei te mea oki e, ka tai teia angaanga ka raveia i roto i to tatou patireia, ka riro te akairo a te au Ui Ariki o nga pa enua i te kave mai i ta ratou toka ei akairo e, kua tae mai to ratou Ui Ariki mei to ratou pa enua mai i te kave mai i te kura i runga i to ratou patu paepae. Ka riro katoa teia toka ei vairanga i te au akairo mei te enua patipika mai ei akairo e kua tae mai to ratou Ui Ariki. Kare teia e riro i te akakoukou mai ki rotopu i ta te au Ui Ariki o te Kuki Airani nei,mar ra e ngai tetai tei akatakia no teia au akairo.
Kua piri mai i roto i teia tauturu’anga te au mouauri, te Tauranga Vananga, te aronga angaanga o te T&M, e pera katoa te au mama tei oronga mai i te tiare ei akamanea i te Are o te Ui Ariki. Te pati nei a Tou Ariki ki te aronga mana kia tomo mai ki roto i teia aua i te oronga mai i ta kotou tauturu e pera tetai uatu e manono nei i te tauturu. Kia taokotai mai tatou katoatoa i te akamanea’anga i teia aua no te ra maata e tapapaia nei ki mua. Te au arataki i Rarotonga nei te pati nei a Tou Ariki kia putuputu mai tatou i roto i te ngutuare o te Aitutaki Hostel i te uriuri manako no to tatou Ui Ariki no te pa enua mai a teia Ruitoru e tu mai nei.
Ko to tatou Ui Ariki kare i akamana ia ake ka tae atu rai te patianga kia kotou. Mei te mea e e au Ui Ariki tetai tei tamanakoia kia piri mai i teia angaanga ei mata no to ratou Ui Ariki kia ringi mai i te Peretiteni o te Ui Ariki. Te inangaroia nei te Ui Ariki kia tae mai ki teia akakoro’anga. -Bernadette Teremoana

Additional $3m to support tourism development
A grant of $3 million has been provided to Cook Islands tourism sector under the New Zealand / Australia Harmonized Aid Programme in a continued effort to sustainably increase income generated by the industry.
The Cook Islands attracted record 112,446 visitors in 2011, an impressive feat when considering that many tourism industries are struggling to shake off the hangover of the global financial crisis.
Current estimates suggest that tourism contributes up to 75% of the Cook Islands’ GDP, reaffirming the industry’s place as the leading driver of sustainable economic development in the country.
This latest contribution will target destination development activities, marketing and tourism-related projects. Cook Islands Tourism Corporation CEO, Carmel Beattie, said
“The additional support will allow the Cook Islands to both increase and diversify our marketing footprint. This is important because it enables the Cook Islands to maintain a presence in key source markets like New Zealand, while increasing our presence and improving destination awareness in other key markets in North America, Europe and Australia.”
Other areas that are expected to benefit from the support include development of a tourism master plan, an education support programme, events programme and tourism-related infrastructure developments in Rarotonga and the outer islands.
Under the Joint Commitment for Development, New Zealand has now provided $6 million in tourism sector support. The previous tranche of $3 million, provided in 2011, supported both destination and route development.
Over the last twelve months, the islands of Atiu and Mitiaro have benefited from several tourism industry developments. On Atiu, the renovation and upgrade of services and facilities, including a visitor centre, with more planned for this year. Mitiaro launched the ‘home stay’ project enabling visitors to the island the cultural experience of living with families.
New Zealand High Commissioner John Carter is pleased to see ongoing support provided to such an key industry in the Cook Islands.
“Tourism is the backbone of this economy and it’s important that this is not taken for granted. I have witnessed first-hand the good work that is being done with this funding, including having the pleasure of attending the opening of the Atiu Tourism Office earlier this year.”
“It’s also good to see benefits being spread to outer islands as well, which have a different, but equally special product to offer”, said Carter.

Small growth reported for Super Fund
According to the just released Annual Report of the Trustee, for the year to December 2011 the Cook Islands National Superannuation Fund produced an overall net investment gain of 2.60% compared to 9.03% in 2010.
The net asset value of the fund grew by $9.1 million to reach $50 million by the end of 2011. 600 new members joined the Fund bringing the total membership to 6,657.
The fund’s money is invested in shares- the Russell World Equity Strategies Fund (30%) and bonds- the Russell World Bond Fund (70%) offered by ING New Zealand Limited.
According to the report, the shares Fund made a loss of 7.53% during the year ended 31 December 2011 while the bonds Fund made a gross return of 7.75%.
According to the Trustee, the high volatility in international financial markets during 2011 was reflected in the Fund’s investment losses during the year. This volatility is expected to continue. -Charles Pitt

33 years later, a new boat

Driving along the back road in upper Tupapa, you may have spotted well known local fisherman Dick Marsters of Tupapa putting the finishing touches to his new fishing boat.
Dick has not been working alone.
He along with two fishing pals Nooroa and Tikaroa (also known as James) have all been working after work during the week and from 7am-7pm on Saturdays to complete their three fishing boats, all at the workshop at Dick’s residence on the back road.
Dick’s new boat has been a long time coming. The new wooden boat will replace the wooden one that has served him well for the last 33 years. The new boat is longer-5.7m and wider-2m. His boat was designed by Nooroa.
According to Dick, the work keeps him occupied as there is not much fish about at the moment. However he did manage to land two Yellow Fin the other day.
He also has frozen parrot fish fillets from Palmerston Island for sale at $10 a kilo so call in and see him if you want some. -Charles Pitt

Home Improvement Scheme underway in Parekura
Wednesday morning marked the commencement of construction to one of the four homes under the Ministry of Internal Affairs Minister Brown’s programme. The Home Improvement Scheme for the elderly scheme began at the Parekura residence of the Ngati Kao family. The scheme, an initiative of Internal Affairs, is aimed at upgrading housing for elderly communities particularly in the area of bathroom facilities, with a need for improved accessibility and mobility. While the programme is still in its introductory stages, Internal Affairs representative Aunty Nga Teao expressed the effectiveness and necessity of implementing the scheme as such and was pleased to see its commencement with the foundations laid down. -Maria Tanner

Stressing For Exams!

Stupid Mid-Year Exams. Why were they invented in the first place? All they do is put stress on the poor students, which further leads them into struggling, which THEN leads to failing their exams. So, what’s the point? But alas, it is not up to me whether or not the exams are cancelled. I only had three, which were English, Math and Commerce, but still…it was hard work studying for ONE subject. I wasn’t too worried about English (C’mon, man. English is the easiest subject) but Math and Commerce were the ones to be panicked about.
I struggled throughout my entire studying period. I’ll admit that my laptop was a temptation and sometimes, I was just too plain lazy to do anything, but the times I did study were the times I really put my mind to it. Two hours would go past without me knowing it and I’m thinking, “Man, I could’ve done something much better within those two hours.” Sucks to be me. But if I was going to pass these exams, then I would have to put in the hard work. I think I lost some valuable hours of sleep trying to remember things. Tells you something about my study habits, huh?
First on the exams list was English, which I reckoned was going to be a breeze…nek minnit…I was prepared for anything. Our teacher told us what to study for, and I really hoped I got it right. All of the exams were actually internals, so they were just preparing us for the real exams which would be held at the end of the year. It was scary and slightly relieving at the same time. We were supposed to sit the exam for two hours. You could leave after the first hour was done, but you couldn’t leave fifteen minutes before the exam finished completely.
Next up was Math, which was the one I was most worried about. I was never any good with numbers because all they do is confuse me. Honestly, I see no reason to learn it (These are the words of a weak mathematician) I did my best to understand what the graphs meant and I certainly hoped all those hours of studying paid off. I was really surprised when we received the exam paper because it all seemed so…easy.
The very last exam I had was Commerce. Words like Assets, Liabilities and Income flowed through my mind. “Did you study, did you study?” was the most commonly asked question for this particular subject. Of course I freakin’ studied. I wasn’t in the mood to give a tutorial to the people who were foolish enough not to study for this. I went inside the exam hall with a positive mindset. We were sharing the hall with a mixture of other Year 11, 12 and 13 students who were sitting other subjects. I took a deep breath and took a glance at my exam paper.
Here’s some advice: if you have a test, do study for it a week before. Take it from me, it’s not worth the stress. -Norma Ngatamariki

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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