Norman George: The insecurity of government by mood swings

Tuesday June 25, 2019 Written by Published in Opinion
Air New Zealand has introduced a new mobile “AviRamp” at Rarotonga International Airport, to make boarding easier for those leaving the country on the airline’s Boeing 777 and 787-9 Dreamliner jet fleets. 19062402 Air New Zealand has introduced a new mobile “AviRamp” at Rarotonga International Airport, to make boarding easier for those leaving the country on the airline’s Boeing 777 and 787-9 Dreamliner jet fleets. 19062402

Oh, my nation of green fields, palm trees, waving in the breeze, with long stretches of white sandy beaches snaking into the distance, with a hinterland of undulating hills and rugged mountains, silently watching, weeping, weary of waiting for changes not yet coming.

 Why are the people leaving? When are they coming back? Must they leave home?

When is political victimisation going to end? Why is it that when the political party you support is not in power, your contract is not renewed, you are side-tracked to a lower paying position or without a job? Are we like migratory birds? Migrate to New Zealand and Australia when your party is not in power? Fly back when your party gets back in?

Thankfully I realised this when I was a rookie cop in Auckland. Police work will never guarantee you jobs in the private sector except for security-related jobs.

I chose law to allow me a chance to survive in the private sector. Can you imagine me job-hunting now in the hostile political environment we live under?

I would have been refused a Cook Islands Party government job a thousand times over. Why do we, at 54 years of self-governing, remain systematically hooked into a system of government by mood swings, while all government decisions are based entirely on rules of proportionality?

Give maximum benefits to people who will keep you in power. Ignore qualifications, talent and ability. Ignore reliability and trustworthiness. Use second-grade workers with first-grade political affiliations.

Study the case of an animal called the weasel. They are small meat-eating carnivores. They hunt at night alone. In the dark they viciously kill their prey. They live in dens. They also kill their own weaker ones and eat them, in a cannibalistic feast. They have no cohesive social bonding. It is survival of the fittest. 

Is this a nation of political weasels? Why are we not looking out for each other? Why do we have moral ambiguity? Where is the passion and intensity of love and care for each other, most particularly towards the weaker and needy? The government cannot carry the message of freedom and service while carrying the baggage of hate and bigotry behind them. We have to denounce government failures to repair and heal.

Life is fragile, evil is real, poor people have worth, in the end, courage and righteousness will prevail.

Let’s focus on a tragic example of political victimisation – this account is happening right now! The man is middle-aged with high qualifications and outstanding record of service in the Cook Islands public service.  His grandfather was a founder of the Cook Islands Party under Papa Arapati. His family has strong Cook Islands Party bloodline.

Maybe in the years gone by, he fell out with the Party oligarchy powerbrokers. He might have been spotted entering and exiting the Demo office. Changed political loyalties can be damaging or fatal to someone reliant on government employment.

This man has been jobless for the past two years. Each job application was turned down. His qualifications include relieving head of ministries – now I call him “The Cinderella Man”. Poor, impoverished, totally without income. His wife works and supports the family. They have young children attending primary school. Soon he may lose his beautiful, eye-catching home.

The Bank of the Cook Islands, “the people’s bank,” is threatening to kick him and his family out and put the house on the market in a threatened mortgagee sale. Cold, heartless and uncaring, the “people’s bank” is about to unleash its explosive mega-power to seize and sell this family’s home. 

Sure, true, the “people’s bank” is only doing its duty, its job, to recover funds for the owners. Who is the owner of the “people’s bank?” Us the people of the Cook Islands!

True, correct, it is following the proper procedures of debt recovery.

Where were the principles and procedures set? Answer, in “developed economies” in New Zealand and Australia. Is there room to have our own “people’s bank” recovery procedures modified and moderated to suit the little people’s needs? No, that is lowering our standards.

Can I share a little secret? Our people can be cruel b……s. Sometimes we forget the teachings of the Lord.

Our cruelty sees no boundaries. Those in power love dishing it out. It gives them an adrenaline top-up to beat their chests like an enraged King Kong!

Why do our people leave? Would this gifted and talented gentleman pack up and join the migratory flocks to depart for Aotearoa? Another house goes on the market. Another outsider buys it. Our depleted wealth and population continues to fall downwards! Down and down we go!

And who is has oversight of this bank? None other than wonder boy Mark Brown, Minister of Finance.

Do something, Mark. Review the policies of the “people’s bank”. Call me, I’ll come and draft it for you! Intercept and intervene Mark. You gave the authority for Grey Power bank accounts to be raided.

Now give the order to save this person’s home. Take over the home under the umbrella of Cook Island Investment Corporation and rent it out to cover the mortgage of Cinderella man. It’s clear there is a waiting list of 45 families waiting to be housed by government.

Hand the house back to the hapless owners when the loan is settled in full. While you are at it, Mark, give this outstanding citizen a job!

A lesson for Cabinet ministers: enjoy your infusion of power. Handle it with care. You will not be there forever. What goes up, must come down. Be careful how you treat people on your way up; because later, on your way down, they may not recognise you.

So, Mark Brown and to all your mates in Cabinet, being a cabinet minister does not make you different to anyone else around you.

Garner respect, apply fair and best practices. Serve your people well or risk being like a cowboy, drifting on your horse on the high plains alone, without friends and with nowhere to go!

Kua rava teia

Ka Kite!

Norman George.

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