PM unhappy over fee delay

Tuesday April 18, 2017 Written by Published in Politics

Prime minister Henry Puna is not pleased about the length of time it is taking to change motorscooter licensing fees back to $20.

 

Puna told CI News he could not understand the delay when Cabinet had authorised the reduction from $90 ($70 testing fee and $20 for a visitor’s licence) in November.

Rarotonga’s rental vehicle operators have been losing thousands of dollars a day since the fee hike last year.

Puna said: “I’m not the minister for Police, however, Cabinet was concerned as early as November.

“It came to us that there was a certain segment of the commercial people being affected negatively by the increase in fees.

“And so the government had taken steps to reverse that … and I’m just a bit surprised – and disappointed – that so far there has been no response from the appropriate authorities.”

The president of the Tourism Industry Council, Sue Fletcher-Vea, said rental vehicle operators had experienced a 60-70 per cent drop in income from scooters.

“The cost for operators is huge. Some of these rental companies have got 100 scooters parked up.”

Fletcher-Vea said tourists had turned off scooters because it was now worthwhile hiring a car for a group of visitors rather than individually getting scooters and paying the cost of testing and hiring helmets.

Sources have told the CI News the losses run into hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The prime minister said: “That’s unacceptable … it is unacceptable.”

Puna said the government has spoken about the situation informally in Cabinet and he would be following the matter up with the Police minister.

“The police need to reconsider and comply with our Cabinet directive.”

Fletcher-Vea said the move away from motorscooters was also having an effect on traffic flows around Rarotonga, with many more cars now on the road.

She said roads were getting jammed and it wasn’t even the high season for tourists.

“The fee needs to revert back to $20.”

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