Ruth Tangiiau Mavé: Now’s the time to be generous

Monday May 11, 2020 Written by Ruth Tangiiau Mavé Published in Editorials
Columnist Ruth Tangiiau Mavé commends the female Opposition MPs including Tina Browne (pictured) for taking a 15 per cent pay cut to help their constituencies during the Covid-19 crisis. Columnist Ruth Tangiiau Mavé commends the female Opposition MPs including Tina Browne (pictured) for taking a 15 per cent pay cut to help their constituencies during the Covid-19 crisis.

OPINION: Columnist Ruth Tangiiau Mavé commends the female Opposition MPs for taking a 15 per cent pay cut to help their constituencies during the Covid-19 crisis.

The announcement from the female Democratic Party MPs that they will be donating 15 per cent of their wages to help their constituents is an effort worth recognising. 

Notice, it's only Demos and its only female MPs (Tina Browne, Selina Napa and Agnes Armstrong) who are offering.

No Cook Islands Party MPs women or men care enough to part with their cash. 

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It's been a long time coming, and should have been done earlier and I have to say, should be more. 

Last year Prime Minister Henry Puna and Deputy Prime Minister Mark Brown gave MPs an immediate 45 per cent wage rise. It was done without opportunity for debate from Demos, afterwards I’m sure I remember rightly, Tina Browne said the Demo MPs would use their wage rise for special projects, outside their own needs. Have they?

Henry Puna gave the old and vulnerable a $400 one-off payment while he gave himself an extra $900 dollars per week rise.

That’s enough to help 10 families every week. 

As the Catholic Bishop said “they are so poor one payment is not enough”.

Mark Brown says he’s keeping his wage rise so he can add to the economy, really?

Does he spend more than $600 a week on a variety of small businesses around the islands?

MPs can’t continue paying themselves big bucks and save the country.

If we’re on minimum wage then MPs should be taking less too.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern refused her MPs a wage rise, and when she shut the country’s borders she announced all MPs and top public servants would take a 20 per cent wage cut for the cause. This is true leadership.

Ardern didn’t ask her country to do something she’s not prepared to do herself. 

Our PM Puna and DPM Brown work on "Do as I say not as I do" mentality.

On Facebook there are plenty of videos showing our government workers all standing, clapping to thank the health workers and Red Cross for their amazing efforts during Covid-19. Puna basically said they were heroes. 

When I commented “yes nice applause now show your appreciation and give them a decent wage rise now, not in three years’ time”, MP Rose Brown, who is the Health minister, replied, “we have always appreciated our health workers, and they were due for a wage rise in the next fiscal year, but now with Covid-19 it may have to be readdressed”.

I added “it's because of Covid-19 they should be paid now plus ‘danger money’ as they’re the ones at the front line, the ones taking all the stress and risks to test people and visit them in isolation”. There’s been no further reply.

The majority of health workers are our mothers and mamas volunteering, or earning very little before all this extra stress and responsibility was thrust on them.

They should be rewarded with more than applause, they deserve money.

People are catching lagoon fish and poisoning themselves because they have nothing to eat.

Women and children are suffering from domestic abuse because of no work or money. Meanwhile, MPs drain the country of $700,000 per annum from their wage rise, which could assist vulnerable families every week.

Government says look at what we are giving, well hello, it’s our tax money, we should be getting it back.

When we give $10 to help another and the government gives $400, they may look generous until you know we only had $10 but they have thousands.

There is plenty of money for the needy, but not for the greedy.

 

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