HERALD WEEKLY ISSUE 608: 21 March 2012

News Briefs

CIIC redundancies - Tip of the iceberg
The basic rule is that when you spend too much money on one particular item, something has to give in as sacrifice. Hence, it is not hard to work out from the current announcement by the Cook Islands Investment Corporation (CIIC) that the Government is looking for areas of the public service to cut funding from. We recently witnessed and found it confirmed to be true that as much as eight workers form the maintenance team at CIIC were to lose their jobs after being employed for close to a decade under the Democratic Party Government.
It did not surprise me at all that the MP for Tupapa turned against his own Government and his own Minister and Prime Minister because of this cruel and mindless plan by the Government. Here, we have ordinary Cook Islanders, working on not very high pay, grinding day in and day out to feed their families and pay for their electricity, phone and of course pay for their rent or mortgages. My friend, Tupapa Member of Parliament George Maggie and I discussed this horrific redundancy news and the senselessness in it. That was immediately after the workers involved were basically given their marching orders by the end of the month. One of the workers came to me seeking help and George and I planned to write a joint letter to the Minister for CIIC, Mark Brown and the Prime Minister Henry Puna condemning the plan but the news broke while I was overseas attending a CPA conference.
While it appears that these workers have been re-employed, I don’t believe that we have heard the last of it. I predict that cutting down on the number of public servants is going to happen and this is only the tip of the ice berg. These are stupid and knee-jerk policies by this Government and it does it because it has no choice. It has focussed spending Government funds on travelling and unnecessary and extravagant expenditure at the expense of the most basic economic necessities. As I have said so many times before, this Government continues to ignore the need for economic and revenue generating activities and inputs.
I believe it is an outdated way of thinking to consider redundancies in the public service of the Cook Islands. It was regarded a necessary cost saving strategy in the 1990’s when the Cook Islands were in dire straits again under an extravagant Cook Island s Party Government. The likes of people like Lloyd Powell, who was hired to come to the Cook Islands and be the “hatchet man” whereby he set out jobs in the public service and establishing a way of thinking that less is better. As a result and this still lingers in the memory of many people, the country lost more than 3,000 of its competent, hard working people for overseas. Of course they took their families with them and have not returned. I believe this Government will trigger off another mass exodus of people out of the country therefore depleting our population even further. This in turn creates an off-balance in our immigration numbers and a distortion of our immigration policies.
I have always believed in this very simple philosophy and that is the more people earning money in the country, the more spending power there is available. Therefore it is much more imperative for the Government to create jobs, maintain a much broader tax base and have the ability to spread earnings across the board rather than singularly high salaries. The Government also needs to generally encourage people to buy from local shops and local products.
A Democratic Party Government under my leadership will certainly pursue that sort of configuration and regulate the consumer platform so that there are incentives for local retailers and wholesalers to sell their wares to customers who have money in their pockets. After all, I believe the most basic economic policy in this country is creating more jobs for our local people because we know exactly where they will spend it. Laying people off from their jobs is therefore plain wrong and silly. -Leader of the Opposition, Wilkie Rasmussen

Minister keen to sustain health priority
Health Minister Nandi Glassie wants to pursue ongoing efforts to tackle problems related to Non-Communicable Diseases and will take advantage of an upcoming meeting of the WHO to encourage further steps to strengthen regional policies and programmes.
The Minister will be attending the 63rd Session of the WHO Regional Committee for the Western Pacific, this month. The meeting will be held in Hanoi, Viet Nam, 24-28 September – and is expected to be attended by the Head of WHO, Director General Dr. Margaret Chan, as well as Western Pacific Regional Director Dr. Shin Young-soo.
The Regional Committee agenda proposes discussion on policies, programmes, and directions for the future, in the Western Pacific Region. Violence and Injury Prevention, Neglected Tropical Diseases, and Nutrition are key areas of focus. In addition, progress of technical programmes on NCDs, Tobacco Control, Immunization, and HIV/AIDS remain high priorities for WHO and member countries.
Minister Glassie says strengthening these areas of policy is critical to the success of combating the health impacts of NCDs and other areas of concern to smaller countries like the Cook Islands. He will continue to press for high level priority and concerted action through the organisation, he says. As such, it will be important for the Cook Islands to sustain its contributions to the development and shaping of the WHO agenda for the Region, he adds.

Full teacher registration sought
The Secretary of Education, Sharyn Paio recently attended and addressed a meeting of the Australasian Teacher Regulatory Authorities on Cook Islands Teachers’ Regulations. The meeting was attended by the CEOs of Teacher Regulations Authorities from each of the states and territories of Australia, Senior Deans from a range of Australian Universities providing teacher pre-service training, as well as two representatives from the New Zealand Teachers’ Council. The Cook Islands Ministry of Education, with the support of the New Zealand High Commissioner, His Excellency John Carter, has been working with the New Zealand Teachers’ Council for some time in an effort to have practising Cook Islands teachers who hold a NZ qualification be granted New Zealand full teacher registration. Mrs Paio said that it was an honour to address the group of professional educators at this meeting and share the good practice happening in our country that is making this possible. If successful, the Cook Islands will be the first country outside of New Zealand to have this ability which Mrs Paio believes will encourage more Cook Islanders to remain teaching here or return from abroad.

Peace Day on Friday

The Annual Peace Day celebration will be held on Friday with the commemoration being held at the Peace Garden in Takamoa. The one-day celebration will be in honour of those who are suffering from the ravages of war, poverty, adversity, climate change, earthquake, unnecessary death, abuse and crimes of political unrest. The one-hour commemoration starts at 4pm on Friday.

Tourism Corp to present 2012 Forum

The success of our first 2 forums has once again provided us the opportunity to invite key wholesale and media partners to join us in the Cook Islands for our annual showcase event. In order to strengthen the Cook Islands presence and demand in key source markets, this forum provides our trade partners a chance to experience our nation’s tourism products and services first-hand, enhancing their capacity to sell the Cook Islands in the international marketplace.
A KOCI steering committee comprising Cook Islands Tourism Corporation staff members (Halatoa Fua, Karla Eggelton, Christian Mani, Tina Kae) and representatives from the private sector (Robert Skews, Dorothy Robertson, Emile Kairua, Charleen Heather) have been working these past months in putting the event together.
Kia Orana Cook Islands will again be centred around a 3 day business session featuring market updates, question and answer sessions between our international partners and the Cook Islands industry along with one on one business meetings to negotiate rates and inclusions in programmes. Familiarisations of products and experiences on a range of islands will be conducted pre and post the business component. The options around famils will be tailored to your market needs.
Key Highlights of this years Programme:
On the cards this year will be the opportunity to:
1. Visit Aitutaki for a day out on her spectacular turquoise coloured waters.
2. Optional sister island experiences in Atiu or Mangaia to experience the rustic beauty of a rugged landscape with a fantastic network of caves and eco-nature tours.
3. B2B business meetings
4. Market specific sessions with the opportunity to pose questions to the market representatives.
5. Key note speakers to provide perspective in key areas of future tourism development.
6. As well as an opportunity to experience a number of excursions and property inspections. These activities will be available pre- and post the forum proper dates.
Key Improvements to this years programme:
1. Consolidated transportation solution – to deal with logistics of passenger/guest movements
2. B2B appointment software – to ensure wholesalers and industry have every means to meet
3. Property Inspection Open Days -
4. Split excursions to avoid overload in numbers for sister island experience.
For more information regarding KOCI, feel free to contact any member of the steering committee or contact Karla Eggelton Director Sales & Marketing on 29435.
Marketing Update – Edgewater Resort Thursday 13 September 2012
3 key topics were discussed at last week’s Marketing update:
1. The Cook Islands Tourism Corporations financial year targets – 11/12 comparisons with 12/13 set figures along with budget allocations for each source market of activity
2. Mataora Gift Card Campaign – the first public meeting to discuss the Visitor Card in detail, how it will work and the rollout of this programme.
3. Kia Orana Cook Islands – providing the industry with an update on where the steering committee is at with regards to preparation for the event.
The next tourism update will be held next Thursday 27 September at Crown Beach from 5:30pm and will include key speakers Graeme West (GM, New Zealand) and Al Merschen (Principal, North America) providing detail on their respective source markets including key projects and plans for this financial year.

Mitiaro mobile launch a success

Telecom CEO Jules Maher is pleased with the successful outcome of the launch of Mitiaro’s GSM mobile network last Thursday.
Maher flew to Mitiaro for the first time last Thursday for the launch and thanks all involved for the warm welcome and great party. He also thanked the Telecom staff for what he said was a fantastic job.
He said the 30m tall mast gave a 7 kilometer radius coverage for Mitiaro meaning fishermen would be able to make and receive calls some distance beyond the reef. Residents will now be able to use their mobile phones to make international calls.
Mitiaro was the last island in the southern group to get mobile. Sound technicians are still working on replacing the solar installations. There is still some work to do in Atiu to overcome a few blind spots.
Penrhyn is the only island left that has no mobile coverage.
Maher said the launch on Mitiaro was bigger than that for Atiu and Mauke but he admits its success is a real mystery. He said people took full advantage of the specials and discounts offered on the day.
The Herald understands that sales on Mitiaro on the day amounted to more than $11,000 compared to Atiu with $5,000, Mangaia with $3,000 and Mauke with $800.
Maher said Telecom was preparing for the arrival of antennas before Christmas for the hook up to the Ob3 network. -Charles Pitt

Water repairs force school to close

Avarua School, the country’s largest primary school, finished early on Tuesday and the children sent home due to there being no water. School finished just after 11am after the water main on the Tupapa back-road had to be shut down for maintenance reasons. MOIP’s Takave Manea said, the repair was necessary as water had been leaking from the pipe for the last two weeks. The maintenance repair began just after 10’o clock this morning and affected parts of Tupapa - forcing the school to close. Rarotonga water intakes have been low due to the lack of heavy rain. Manea said the repairs were completed just before mid-day on Tuesday. He also asked the public to report leaking taps and pipes to the Ministry to enable them to carry out repairs promptly. MOIP Secretary Donye Numa said she deeply regretted what happened with the school but said the island is in a water crisis and notifying the Ministry of leaky pipes was important.

Plastic bags banned

As of today, the country will prohibit the importation of all non-biodegradable plastic shopping bas and importers are now required to switch to environmentally friendly biodegradable bags. The banning of the non-biodegradable type was officially made last month with regulations in place. In 2008, a community survey was completed with 92% of the people surveyed agreed to ban the non-biodegradable type. Under the Environment Act 2003, the new regulations will see that public awareness be made to encourage people to use the biodegradable plastic bags or alternative ‘green’ options like cloth bags, kete’s or cardboards, and those importers who fail to comply with the new regulations will face up to a fine of $500. Radio CI understands, a letter and information paper was already sent out to retailers informing of the change and the National Environment Service held meetings with importers to ensure they fully understood the requirements under the new regulation.
Non-biodegradable plastic bags are made from non-renewable fossil fuels which take years to breakdown in our environment. The Prime Minister said, this is one of the necessary steps the country has to take to care for our environment and achieve the Clean, Green Policy.

Workshop for Pacific Broadcast technicians
Radio and TV technicians from within the Pacific region gathered on Monday for a four day AIB /PACMAS regional workshop on Pacific communication broadcast technicians in Apia, Samoa hosted by Radio NZ’s Steve White. Over the duration of the workshop, discussions were held on ways to help improve the Pacific islands in broadcasting for both radio and television and in cases of disaster. Further work includes the drafting of a proposal to PACMAS to form a body organisation and network for technicians in the Pacific to help one another. The proposal will be submitted to PACMAS at the conclusion of the workshop.- Temo Sukanaivalu (CITV)

Media discuss guidelines in Apia

Taking place in Apia Samoa the 3rd AIBD/FES/RNZI regional workshop on news judgement commenced. The one day workshop included the likes of regional journalist, editors, legal representative’s, and media heavyweights in which interactive discussions were conducted around each participant’s role and experience working within the media to create and build an understanding of the editorial guidelines that should help govern the way the media address stories.
The issues of ethical standards and social responsibility that the media should technically uphold were not only brought to a forefront throughout the days discussions but highlighted as a level of professionalism. From the participants of the interactive workshop discussions swayed between upholding a set of editorial guidelines and work ethics that were culturally sensitive to the styling’s of the pacific following as closely to a regional guideline.
The day’s workshop was conducted by Radio New Zealand’s Megan Whelan and Phillipa Tolley, who is considered amongst her peers to be one of New Zealand’s most senior journalist and producers and has worked across the media scene for the likes of Radio New Zealand International and the BBC. Tolley has conducted a number of workshops for both the ABU and AIBD and now the currently the Executive Producer of the New Zealand documentary ‘Insight.’ -Maria Tanner

Record holder to mount run
Martin Parnell, an inspirational endurance athlete arrived into Rarotonga on Monday and hopes to clock up to a 100k’s on Friday night by running around the island 3 times. Parnell who is part of a right to play charity organization to help improve health, develop life skills, and foster peace for children and communities affected by war, poverty and disease. He is part of a team that has featured in the World Guinness Book of Records for the longest netball game played being 61-hours. The team also holds the record for the longest La Crosse game clocking 24-hours. And on Wednesday will see the arrival of Japan’s top marathon runner arrive and when cleared by immigration and customs he will pair up with Parnell and run from the airport to the Edgewater Resort. After completing his 100km mission, he will then join the Round Rarotonga Road Race.

Athletics Day!

Tereora College is known for its dedication to sport as well as the academic side of education. On Wednesday 12th, two events occurred: the Tereora Athletics and my cousin’s birthday. These things just HAD to fall on the same day. We celebrated my awesome cousin’s (whose name is Nga, by the way) at school and she seemed to have enjoyed it. I think. I’m in House Two and our color is yellow. I’m ashamed to say that I’ve forgotten what mountain we represent, but what I haven’t forgotten is my house pride.
During the week before Athletics Day, the school held House Meetings, that is, each and every House will gather its students and discuss strategies on how to waste the other Houses, the best athletes to put into each individual sport etc. I wasn’t really getting worked up over that, because usually, the House Masters just read out the rules and regulations of the sports and yada yada. It was interesting, though, because those who weren’t joining the “serious” events could have a go at the participation events, where you score points for your House just, as the name suggests, participating. When I heard Tug-o-War being was announced, I just knew that was my calling.
My friend and I, Jamie, were suppose to make a banner for our House, but we just never got round to it. Besides, we heard that a mega-awesome one was being made by our House Captain. So reliable. I forgot to mention that if you wore your House colors on the day, you could score points for your House. I had to literally tear my room apart just to look for something with yellow on it. We were also warned that if we didn’t show up, our parents would be called from the office, so I didn’t want to risk it. (A great strategy the teachers worked up there)
Finally, the day came. I woke up earlier than usual, because of my nerves. I was freaking out because there was a possibility that I would be picked to compete in a serious event. No, thanks! I’m pretty useless at that kind of thing and I would only be shaming my House (not to mention myself) But I had to suck it up, because all my friends were going to be there and to be honest, I would rather be at the Athletics Day than stuck at home. I caught the bus at the usual time and headed to school.
I arrived at Tereora College with excitement and fear running through my body. There was a sea of green, blue, yellow and red students. It was good to see that they had their House pride. The events started at 8:30am, so there was plenty of time to muck around. True to my word, I participated in the Tug-O-War. Sadly, we lost all of our games BUT only because we didn’t have any heavy people in our team (True fact) All and all it was a cool day. -Norma Ngatamariki

Trash to Fashion!
As you are reading this, I will probably be helping out with the final preparations for the big Wearable Arts show at the Princess Anne Hall tonight! Because we have day off school today (yay!) I’ll be tying on the costume that I’ll be modeling for a friend for the very first time, learning how to walk down the catwalk, where to walk, what to do and setting up decorations!
Who knew that taking a whole lot of plastic bottles and cans, newspapers, old wire and just about EVERYTHING that is trash, is now turned into beautiful works of art and shown off along catwalks and on stages during what the world calls, The Wearable Arts.
Wearable Arts shows are not just popular in our little country, but right around the world! They hold huge Wearable Art shows in New Zealand where fantastic and extreme costumes are flaunted in front of large audiences. There’s proper lighting done, eerie music that fits the quirkiness of the costumes and news reporters and photographers snapping away hysterically! (Like a real fashion show, only the fashion doesn’t cost thousands of dollars)
Wearable Art shows are quiet important within our world, (and our little island) because not only is it a great burst of creativity but it’s another way in which our planet is slowly healing the world by recycling. We aren’t just sorting out are rubbish into separate bins, and not littering, we’re creating fashion, enhancing our creativity and showing the world amazing costumes that are made out of the simplest of materials!
I’m happy I’ll get to be apart of the show tonight, because although I never had the time to design a costume, (big thanks to the three English externals I was freaking out on) modeling someone else’s costume will be just as fun. To have everyone watching you while you glide along the catwalk, spinning around and gliding back towards the stage, is an awesome feeling! As long as I don’t trip and go flying across the catwalk instead.
I don’t know what I’ll be wearing tonight! All I know is that I will have a long black train made out of garbage bags! That’s all I know! And it’s kind of scary not knowing what you’ll be strutting across the catwalk until the actual night! (Probably should have gone to the Fashion Department at lunch when I was supposed too, instead of stacking chairs in a class room for a Media Studies project)
I can’t think of anything bad when it comes to The Wearable Arts! People of all ages are given the opportunity to make amazing designs out of any sort of recycled trash that they can get their hands on, and it’s pretty amazing what some people can create! And The Wearable Arts show is a more entertaining and exciting way of recycling! Using recycled rubbish to create costumes is better, and lets face, LESS BORING then doing the same old, ‘put your rubbish in separate bins blah blah blah’
Anyway, I think I’ve gone on enough about tonight, I hope to see you there!! And don’t forget to Reduce, Re-Use and Recycle! -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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