Thirty Linhai quad bikes were among $1.5 million worth of agricultural equipment donated to the Cook Islands by the People’s Republic of China last month and most have been given to MPs.
At the handover ceremony it was declared all machinery, including mulching and fertilising equipment, would go to the Pa Enua and one quad bike would stay to be used by the Ministry of Agriculture on Rarotonga.
There was no mention of 24 quad bikes for MPs’ personal use.
At the handover ceremony at Constitution Park, Minister of Agriculture Kiriau Turepu said he hoped the donated equipment would mean a growth in local agricultural production and added food security for the country.
And Special Envoy for China-Pacific Islands Forum Dialogue Du Qiwen said he hoped the machinery would be put to good use and could help the farmers in rural communities.
One Cook Islands Member of Parliament for Tupapa George Maggie, who definitely isn’t a farmer, received his shiny new red quad bike last Friday, and has already used it for maintenance in his constituency.
Maggie says he has trimmed hedges in Tupapa and also used the machine to tow some chopped-down coconut trees.
However, so far the bright red machine has not been used to help agricultural growth in the area.
Maggie said he could not say whether other MPs would use their quad bikes as frequently as he did.
“I can’t judge that... but I wish to thank my people for voting for me and China for gifting this equipment.”