Development critic gets a blast

Tuesday January 23, 2018 Published in Letters to the Editor
While letter-writers bicker about the future of the failed Sheraton project, it seems some enterprising locals have already taken up residence in the derelict building. This photo was taken last week as one “guest” sat outside enjoying a drink. 18011011 While letter-writers bicker about the future of the failed Sheraton project, it seems some enterprising locals have already taken up residence in the derelict building. This photo was taken last week as one “guest” sat outside enjoying a drink. 18011011

I was reminded the other day that I have not responded to the letter by John Cooper in CINews on December 23 headed “Chinese unlikely to like hotel plan”. 

 

In his letter he stated he had read my proposal “to develop the abandoned so-called Sheraton Resort at Vaimaanga”.

Cooper claimed I had stated I had “Chinese investors who will develop the property and create similar resorts on the neighbour islands for holidaymakers from China”.

He asked if I was “not aware that Asian, particularly Chinese investors are forward-thinking, generations ahead of any property purchases?” With his point being that “leasehold land is not of interest at all to them”.

And he applauded the Cook Islands for retaining its lands for its people and complained that “New Zealand property has been sacrificed to foreign investors buying up huge tracts of freehold land which will be theirs forever, lost to New Zealand”.

Finally, Cooper pointed to an Act sponsored by New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Adern that he said would take effect in February 2018 and restrict foreign investors, as if to suggest it would stop Chinese investors.

Reading his gibberish, I could be excused for thinking he may have lost touch with reality.

I now respond:

He can’t have read the full proposal for Vaimaanga to become the feeder resort on Rarotonga for the Merchant of Paradise (MOP) Paradise Prosperity Plan (PPP) to develop a matrix of international brand signature resorts on islands with dying economies so they can contribute to the economy instead of depending on it. That’s because I alone have that document, meaning he was ill informed to comment.

I have no interest in working with Chinese investors or any other investor for that matter, only Chinese developers with skills that we lack to compete the PPP project, as China has already set aside concessional finance for commercial projects under the One China Policy aid platform, meaning he was misinformed.

Leasehold land is common enough throughout Asia and investors, including Chinese investors, take assignment of land leases as security for their capital investment, so he was misinformed again.

The idea that land is being lost to New Zealand forever is a fallacy. Does anyone really believe Chinese investors can dig up huge tracts of land in New Zealand and take them to China?

The truth is God created the land and owns it. We are merely guardians of his land and when we die, our guardianship expires. Look to our ancestral land tenure still practiced by Pukapuka, Mitiaro and Mangaia for insight!

Another truth is Chinese investors out of mainland China only invest in working the land for the prosperity of all, as God would have us do, and if their investment goes belly-up they run away to lick their wounds and the land remains as God created it – look at Vaimaanga for your optics!

The Act he was referring to as sponsored by New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Adern is the Overseas Investment Act, which, from where I’m sitting, deals with housing issues that I won’t delve into and nothing to do with stopping Chinese investors.

Anyway, it doesn’t make sense that New Zealand would join the China-sponsored Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) to source concessional finance for its commercial sector and then turn around and kick China in the teeth.

My own take from that act is that New Zealand’s government would like to see an economy for New Zealanders and not immigrants, just as we want to see an economy for indigenous Cook Islanders and not immigrants, the point of difference being New Zealand still has its economic war ahead of it and we in the Cook Islands are done for, with our economy already transitioning to immigrants and us indigenous people on our way to oblivion.

            Tim Tepaki

PS: Drumbeats on the coconut wireless are now saying that John Cooper is not a ghost, just a caring fellow New Zealander visiting Rarotonga who picked up on current news and commented without all the facts – I respect that!

The coconut wireless also said his partner got robbed by high-flying grasshoppers hiding out at Vaimaanga who weren’t impressed with his drawing attention to their hideout – I regret that!

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