Can a value be placed on a Cook Islander?
What is a Cook Islander worth? Can a value be placed on a Cook Islander?
William Heather Senior raised these questions with the Times on Friday morning.
William laments the defeatist attitude of some Cook Islanders who have gone overseas seeking a better life.
“No more excuses,” says William, “Where else is there a better life than in the Cook Islands?”
Sure one can go overseas to seek a better pay than the $5 per hour minimum paid in the Cook Islands but the $23 an hour in Australia and $15 an hour in New Zealand are the minimum wages in those countries. Going from the minimum in your country to the minimum in another country is hardly a step up says William. It means Cook Islanders are going to the bottom of the heap in another country.
Cook Islanders may seek a better education at a NZ University. William points out our primary and secondary schools are largely modeled on NZ’s system and we also have NZ teachers in our schools.
William suggests Cook Islanders consider the following; we receive some $16 million in aid funds from the NZ government each year however, this year we will pay the NZ government owned airline around $12 million. We will import around $300 million worth of products from NZ. Trained Cook Island workers will fill job positions with NZ Employers.
Consider this also says William, our tuna resource is actually under fished and our local industry under-developed. The catch in our waters is barely 7,000 tonnes a year when it should be 20,000. Our Albacore fetches around US$3 a kilo at the canneries in Pago when it should be sent to Japan or the USA where it will fetch a higher price. As our own tuna fishing industry is under-developed, we have issued licenses to overseas companies for license fees that seem too low.
Our sea bed contains resources which so far the value of is beyond comprehension. All we know is that the potential value exceeds trillions of dollars.
Our agricultural potential says William can be greatly increased and if we focus on high value crops sought after by the Asians, so what could be the value of that?
William says these factors alone when considered will show that a Cook Islander has a value.
However, that is only part of the equation according to William.
There is something about a Cook Islander which has been lost says William. It reveals itself when Cook Islanders moan about the low wages, high cost of living, high interest rates and lack of jobs.
William recalls Cook Islanders once followed in their father’s footsteps and in doing so, became confident, knowledgeable, self reliant and productive.
Today the tendency is for Cook Islanders to look to the government for help. They want a high paying government job, a cheap government loan to start a business, government incentives, government handouts and assistance.
Gone is the self reliance and confidence to stand on your own two feet.
William suggests Cook Islanders try doing things for themselves, making their own decisions, their own way in the world.
He believes Cook Islanders have the ability to create and sustain their own destiny and therein lies the true value of a Cook Islander. It’s not a value you can put a price on but it is a value everyone will acknowledge that a Cook Islander has.
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