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‘We can afford TMV’ - Brown

Tuesday July 24, 2018 Written by Published in Politics
A large portion of the cost of mounting this year’s Te Maeva Nui festival has been spent on transporting participants from the outer islands. Pictured is the scene at the wharf earlier this month when the Tahiti Nui arrived with passengers from Manihiki. 18072325 A large portion of the cost of mounting this year’s Te Maeva Nui festival has been spent on transporting participants from the outer islands. Pictured is the scene at the wharf earlier this month when the Tahiti Nui arrived with passengers from Manihiki. 18072325

Deputy prime minister Mark Brown says the country can afford to spend about $3.04 million on this year’s Te Maeva Nui celebrations.

 

He was reacting to a statement from the Democratic Party in which the Opposition raised concerns about money spent by the Cook Islands Party government on the big celebrations, which start this Friday.

The Demos said that if they’d planned the event properly, the government could have saved about $1 million of the projected cost.

However, Brown said the government would not compromise the quality of the celebrations and the welfare of the people attending it.

“The best part of these celebrations is that as a country we can afford to pay for them, so why not spend the money on our people? The benefits are evident for all to see,” Brown, who is also Finance minister, said.

“It looks like the Democratic Party are trying to tell our people from the outer islands that they still support the Constitution celebrations, but they did not want to spend too much money on our people.

“It looks like they wanted to bring our people on cheaper boats (which means less comfort for our people by making them sleep on the decks of cheaper boats).  The Democratic Party also did not want to bring so many of our people to the celebrations; they wanted a cap on the numbers to reduce costs.”

Of the total budget, the Democratic Party pointed out the costs of transporting people from the northern group by sea and air transportation for the southern group topped the bill at about $2.38m.

From the government perspective, Brown said they made it very clear a year ago that they were committed to chartering vessels they have used in previous years to bring people to Rarotonga in safety and comfort.

“The days of sleeping in the deck are long gone but the Demo Party feels that is what our Pa Enua people should have. The government believes we should give our people the best,” he said.

“We also made it clear a year ago that there would be no cap on the numbers as it meant that families would be split during this period. 

“In anticipation of this, the government had already planned to cover the costs of chartering vessels and planes for transport as well as all other associated costs. We have been prepared.”

Brown said people from the outer islands were taking advantage of the opportunity to be on Rarotonga to visit the dentist and hospitals for check-ups, especially the mammogram screening programme now underway for women.

He said it was also an opportunity for the outer islanders to organise purchases and supplies for the homeward journey. 

“What we are seeing is our people in a happy and joyous mood since their arrival and eagerly looking forward to one of our most anticipated cultural competitions in years.

“These celebrations are held on Rarotonga once every two or three years.  It is a time to come together as a nation and as one people from many islands.

“The Demo Party should just quit with their complaining and join our people in celebrating.”

1 comment

  • Comment Link Warren Wichman Wednesday, 25 July 2018 14:27 posted by Warren Wichman

    This is a misuse of Public Funds by the government once again. The government already have the state in debt to foreigners by $143.5 million amongst a set of confused financial statements they made before the election and they are heading much higher as some independents have joined them at the last election, in their support of the excessive spending/high debt agenda. Tax payer funds should not be paid out by the millions to cover the costs of a dance competition. At the moment the government have listed 12 debts to foreign banks for amounts varying between $1 million and $3.4 million with loan periods up to June 2045. These are the list of smaller debts, from a much larger list below. One debt was for a small $272k for 40 years for the Pearl Industry. What is the interest rate for this $272k loan and what will the final repayment figure be for this 40 year loan? Is this responsible financial management? They say they have plenty of reserve funds. Do they? If so, then why haven't these loans been paid out? They have stated that the Te Maeva Nui costs this year will total $3.039 million. This will continue to increase every year.