Tax amnesty sends the wrong message

Friday January 13, 2017 Published in Smoke Signals

CAN THE GOVERNMENT afford to let big companies and failed businesses off the hook by introducing a tax amnesty, and at the same time say it has no money to provide doctors to any of the outer islands? Mangaia lost its doctor recently, replaced by a nurse practitioner.

Aitutaki is the only remaining outer island, I believe, with a doctor or dentist.


IS “POISON” A cultural identity? Or is it have something to do with a past Albert Nicholas is going into denial with? And he is in government. In New Zealand, the Maori activist Tama Iti more clearly defines that country’s culture with his facial moko (tattoo), than our money-grubbing, “fill up my own pockets,” fella.


“ALL THE BUSINESS community wants is an even playing field,” a smoke signaller says. “Those who pay their taxes on time should expect their competitors are doing the same. But no, seems there are the political favourites who can pay when they feel like it, and not get penalised.”


WHICH PROMPTS ANOTHER smoke signaller to suggest that maybe it’s time for a “name and shame” session. “It would be interesting to see a list of all of these businesses who consistently fail to meet their tax obligations and as taxpayers who do pay up, week after week, year after year, we have a right to know. Several prominent names are being bandied about at present, some of them with very close links to government. It’s a totally unfair situation and surely Mr Puna and his trusty sidekick, the former fish and chip shop owner turned Finance minister, can see this.”


REMEMBER THE DAYS when it was safe to leave your car or truck just about anywhere, unlocked with the keys in the ignition? Thought not. Sadly, those times have long disappeared. These days, if something isn’t under lock and key, you can practically guarantee it will disappear in short order. That’s because we have far too many no-hopers who would sooner steal from others than work to pay for things they need/want.


IS THERE BAD blood between prime minister Henry Puna and former New Zealand prime minister John Key? Not only did the prime minister not send him a message when Key unexpectedly resigned last year, he also didn’t make a speech at the farewell for popular New Zealand High Commissioner Nick Hurley and his wife Christine. Has diplomacy been thrown out the window? Or was our PM simply miffed because Key wouldn’t go along with Puna’s United Nations aspirations?


MANGAIA’S ONE AND only doctor has quit, leaving the island with just a nurse to take care of residents’ health needs. But will the Ministry of Health explain why the doctor has chosen to depart, or what the situation is with health care provision on the other main islands? In a word, no. Ministry secretary Liz Iro says that instead, CI News should be concerning itself with stories about the national health strategy.


“A few years ago people had to get a tax clearance before they could travel out of the Cook Islands,” a smoke signaller says. MFEM should reintroduce this for all the tax evaders. It would probably stop a fair bit of government travel at the same time.”


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