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Norman George: Nurse and teacher tucker relies on vaka swappas

Tuesday December 10, 2019 Written by Published in Opinion

OPINION: The pile of discarded MPs provide an argument for diverting capital surplus into public sector pay rises – regardless of who’s in power.


Independent MPs are critical to the survival of the Cook Islands Party government. To the shrewd observer their importance can be neutralised.

First the independents will be in danger if the Demos can attract two disgruntled Cook Islands Party MPs. The price of a quick by-election to follow can be contained if the Demos recruit the Cook Islands Party MPs in a vaka swap.

Most MPs command 15 to 20 per cent of their own personal supporters. Add the Demos supporters to that, the vaka-swapper wins easily.

Right now the numbers count is Cook Islands Party coalition 13, Demos 11. The Demos only need two MPs to form a new government. The independents have an easier option. The two MPs from Atiu and the Penrhyn MP would be more attractive prospects. They should have no problem holding their ministerial posts.

An independent MP cannot service their electorate outside of government. There will be fewer chances of infrastructural developments, education, health, electricity. Their seats will be shaky and vulnerable, without government support.

It would pay the independents to closely observe the list of discarded and ignored former Cook Islands Party MPs such as Teariki Heather, Nandi Glassie, Kiriau Turepu, Ata Herman, John Henry, Vaine Wichman, Moana Ioane and Toa Isamaela.

A good party leader will always attend to the defeated and wounded. You don’t see that happening from Henry and Mark. Where are the all-important positions on government boards? Consultancies? Diplomatic posts?

To add insult to injury, I am advised a board member on the Investment Board lives in New Zealand! She flies in and out for every board meeting. Has anyone calculated the cost benefit analysis of this exercise? 

For those independents and MPs keeping King Henry and Chancellor Brown on their rocky thrones, face the truth! If you can’t see anything or hear anything, then you are a danger to yourself. You must be suffering from sight and hearing defects.

On the contrary, the Demos should approach a potential change of government very carefully. Don’t allow unfair and improper portfolio demands from the clearly incompetent and unqualified MPs. The interest of the nation must come first. We need good, competent, transparent governance.

MPs should know their limits and not over-reach above their ability. The most important quality is a good humble heart and love of the homeland.

Let me put this demand before the public. There needs to be a huge pay rise for the public servants of this country; the health, school teachers, police, prison officers, customs/immigration officers, infrastructure workers and every person working for the government must receive an urgent pay rise now. This is long overdue.

MPs and Ministers have had their pay increases. Now the rest of the government must follow. It should have been paid this December before Christmas. Now Mr. King and Mr Chancellor, pay the unspent Capital Budget (The so-called “Brown Surpluses”) to the public servants now!

Be brave and bold. If there is a change of government, this call applies to you as well.  An increase in pay means more spending locally, more tax take and growth in the economy – get on with it.

Kua rave teia, ka kite.

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