TMV petitioners question 70% leakage claim

Monday May 12, 2014 Published in Letters to the Editor
James Thomson of the Te Mato Vai Petition Committee. 14040305 James Thomson of the Te Mato Vai Petition Committee. 14040305

Dear Editor, Our apologies by not saying to all our petitioners thank you for your support and to all your families – God bless you all!

One of our elders told us wait, do not act in haste and always use “black and white” or state the facts! We did not respond in haste and let’s see last month’s news and headlines, starting from April 2, 2014.

The Cabinet, Government and TMV have responded to petitioners; The only comment we will say is “There was no response to our final issue: “Wherefore your petitioners pray; That an immediate stop be put to Te Mato Vai until all the misgivings and shortcomings of the project can be identified and investigated and other options explored and that independent expertise be solicited to conduct that exercise with a view to distilling all material : “”Significant changes have been made to the Te Mato Vai Master Plan as a result of formal and informal consultation over recent months”. (Saturday April 19, 2014 – CI News) The next is: “Public funds misused: Report” (Thursday April 24, 2014 – CI News.)

Here is additional information from some of our many past “consultancy” documents. The workshop was held at the Puka Puka Hostel. This is the title of the document and a part of what it states: ESCAP/SOPAC Workshop, Cook Islands (June 24-26 1998, p.2) stated: “It has been estimated that up to 70 per cent of the water entering the distribution and individual connections is unaccounted for or lost through leakage. During dry conditions the existing water sources struggle to satisfy the current demand”.

Then there is the 2009 ADB Report (2) number 10 stated: “To date about 70 per cent of the distribution system has been replaced and the replacement of the remainder (but not of the 32 km ring main, which is likely the focus of the majority of system losses) is planned by MOW; to be completed over the next three years)”.  On (p.3) number 12 stated: “Water losses are also uncertain, but are high. The MOW reports that water losses may be as high as 70 per cent, but this cannot be confirmed until system-wide metering is in place, as proposed below”. 

Editor, there is one profound question which is over 15 years and we are still “estimating” 70 per cent leakage? The ADB report refers to the 32 km ring main, which is likely the focus of the majority of system losses. All we ever wanted was to say was “put all the cards on the table and let’s make positive informed decisions for our people”.  It seems like if you are for locals' interests you are denied that right. Why? Editor, we have sent many stories to the Cook Islands News but we are denied. Do you have the same ethics as we state? Editor, news is not to suppress either side of a debate but allow the reader or viewer to have an “open mind” of the truths that come from each side of the ledger. There are always two sides to a story! If anyone wants to say we are wrong, no more non-de plumes or single minded opinions just state the facts! Remember money without “financial literacy” is money soon gone “Kiyosaki”. I do hope we have the opportunity to be heard again in the near future?

Petitioners and their committee

(Name and address supplied)

Editor’s note: Contrary to what has been stated in the letter, CINews has not received “many stories” from the petitioners and, in my view, has provided both sides of the TMV debate with plenty of opportunity to put their point of view. My decision to suspend letters earlier was based on what I saw was a need for the TMV project team to be given a chance to complete the Master Plan without having to continually respond to points that had already been well made. That moratorium has now been lifted, but I see little point in continually covering the same ground, as the petitioners seek to do. Our readers would have been in no doubt that the petitioners questioned the amount of leakage being claimed from the current pipes. It is not CINews’ fault that Parliament was dissolved before the petition could be heard by a Select Committee; but, as editor, I am not prepared to have writers continually rehash matters that have been well canvassed in the paper.

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