NICHOLAS FLIES IN - Absent MP talks about his ‘year of hospitals’

Monday December 10, 2018 Written by Published in Politics
Albert Nicholas talks to CI News at its offi  ces after fl ying in from New Zealand. 18120906 Albert Nicholas talks to CI News at its offi ces after fl ying in from New Zealand. 18120906

Former minister Albert Nicholas says poor health is the only reason for his extended stay away from the Cook Islands.


Nicholas, the Member of Parliament for Avatiu-Ruatonga-Palmerston, has been away in New Zealand following his re-election in June. He returned to Rarotonga yesterday for a short visit.

Nicholas’ absence raised many questions and generated a lot of speculation over the past few months. Subsequently, he lost his ministerial position to Vaine “Mac” Mokoroa.

He said people close to him knew about his whereabouts in New Zealand and the truth behind his long absence.

“This year hasn’t been a good year for me. As soon as 2018 started, there were a number of health issues,” said Nicholas, who paid a visit to CI News after arriving yesterday afternoon.

“At the beginning, it was a real concern but it actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise because it kind of picked up other things at the beginning stage … which helped to address it before it became a real concern.

“Somehow 2018 has been nothing but hospitals for me.”

In June, Nicholas was diagnosed with blood poisoning and spent a lengthy period in New Zealand to recover from the illness.

He said his health problem was first detected in 2015 when he was hospitalised in Papua New Guinea during the Pacific Games.

“When you are in a situation concerning your life and you feel you are that close to losing it, everything else becomes irrelevant. Even the fact that you are about to lose a very important position that you hold, it doesn’t matter anymore. That’s what happened to me,” Nicholas said.

“It wasn’t a choice when it got to that point and it wasn’t a hard decision to make – to save your job or save yourself. What was concerning is the way people perceived it (my situation) to be.

“I guess if I was a nasty person, there would have a lot of people I would take to court for making allegations against me but the focus has always been to get myself well and hopefully at the right time when everything goes well, come back home.”

Nicholas said it was pointless for him to remain in Rarotonga and continue in his position while dealing with his health issues.

He said he was always committed to giving 100 per cent when it came to serving his community and people.

“Why would you want a half-fit person to work? It’s pointless because all you get from a half committed worker who is not in his full capacity is a half-baked job.

“When I do things, I don’t do it half-pie. I do it full but to be in that mind frame, one has to be fit enough to be totally committed to the job and the task ahead and not worry about health issues and other things.”

Nicholas said he would try to sort out key issues in the coming days before returning to New Zealand to continue with his recovery.

“I’m not 100 per cent, so much so that I’m not confident enough to be cleared totally but I’m here because a close friend has asked me come and sort a few things out.

“Within the time frame I have been allowed to be here, hopefully I would be able to address some key issues or key concerns.”

Nicholas said serving people gave him great joy and he would love to continue to work for his community. But he added with his current state of health, he would consider the future of his job as a parliamentarian.

“When you face certain things, you realise the seriousness of it and where it could have possibly ended up.  You start to think carefully about the decisions you make next and prioritise what’s more important for you at that point.

“2018 has been a year where I have considered my life more than anything or anyone. If it required me to leave my job and position here, I would do it any day because it’s a matter of being alive.

“I never wanted this job but what I did enjoy doing is doing stuff for people. It gave me joy serving and working for them.”

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