HERALD WEEKLY ISSUE 608: 21 March 2012

Mark Brown response to Leader of the Opposition’s comments
On Tuesday Finance Minister Hon Mark Brown took the opportunity to reiterate the government’s standing on the Cook Islands largest ever, $60 million tri-lateral water infrastructure project after Leader of the Opposition Wilkie Rasmussen’s public comments.
“I think it really is more of an emotional outburst coming from the Honorable Leader of the Opposition. What he’s totally neglected to address is that for many years during the term of their time in government the complaints from the public about the state of our water, water pressure, problems when there is no rain, dirty water when there is rain, and the status for our waters infrastructure for many, many years has been neglected. “
“What the government has done, and we have made a bold decision, is to invest in our water infrastructure to ensure that we have good, clean, quality water and that when you turn on the tap on clean water comes out. This is an investment in future generations; it is a legacy investment that we have made that is why it is the biggest investment in infrastructure the country has ever undertaken.”
“ I think it’s a bit rich coming from the Leader of the Opposition to say that these negotiations have been done in secret, and people don’t know what’s going on. Perhaps if he took the time to read the budget that we passed he would see where in the budget this particular project is being funded out of and by whom.”
“There is no way that countries such as China or New Zealand would have entered into this agreement that we have put together without an assurance that the money that they are going to be putting to this project is going to be managed well and that the whole project is financially viable.”
“I have every confidence that the project we have put together is well within our debt capacity, and again I’d like to point out to the honorable Leader of the Opposition that if he takes the time to read the budget book, for the first time we have a clear position of the government’s debt and the country’s total debt which was not available before in the previous budgets, and that’s what we’ve made available. It’s an open, transparent process, the critical thing for us is that we’re addressing the people’s concerns and their cries which was ‘we want clean water, we want regular water.’ That’s going to be done, this project will deliver that.”
“I can understand from the Oppositions perspective that they have to see something they can attack the government on but it’s just a bit unfortunate that the Honorable Leader of the Opposition has chosen to attack a project which is in a national interest and he may wish to rethink his words when asked for comment again.” -Maria Tanner

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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