Festive timing of tax ‘amnesty’ a bit suspect

Friday January 27, 2017 Published in Smoke Signals

THE HENRY PUNA and Mark Brown Christmas tax amnesty announced before December 25 is suspicious to say the least.

Why would Puna and his former fish and chip shop-owning sidekick announce such a message to the public, when surely it needs parliament’s approval before it gets off the ground. The timing of this announcement seems to be nothing more than "vote buying". They say desperate times require desperate measures and with a hung parliament, anything to swing voters will be done by the people in power. The next disappointing surprise is the one per cent tax drop, which will not even dent our high cost of living. Better off to put aside all the savings from the 1 per cent and give it back to the elderly pensioners, whose bank accounts were raided by government two years ago.


BEFORE YOU COULD say, Happy New Year, the Super Gold Elite-flying PM was in Dubai and Japan for urgent talks before the Trump meltdown inauguration. Not enough money for Health, Education, Roads, the Grey Power pensioners - the Puna gravy train is spending public money faster than the banks can print it. What’s happened to the PM’s promise that all government travel will be economy class to save the taxpayer’s money? The misuse of government vehicles has reached alarming proportions, that even junior to middle level staff don't care anymore. Morale is pathetic and low work productivity is disguised as superior performance. What a start to the new year.


ONE MINISTER SIGHTED in the airport departure lounge late last year by a member of the taxpaying public declared he wasn’t in fact flying business class to Auckland, New Zealand (and beyond), but travelling “cattle class” along with the great unwashed. When it came to boarding time, however, there was the minister, being shown to his luxury seat in business class by a bowing and scraping Air New Zealand flight director.


IT'S SAD THAT the case of the three starved and ill-treated dogs has prompted some visitors to say they won’t be returning to Rarotonga, a smoke signaller says. “However, despite the better and more enthusiastic enforcement of animal laws in places such as Australia and New Zealand, I can assure these visitors that the same kinds of things – and even worse, happen in their own countries on a regular basis. Often it’s on a much larger scale too, with farmers mistreating whole herds of cows and sheep, for example. Cruel and loathsome animal owners aren’t only found in this part of the world.”


STAN, AFTER READING your articles I’m of the impression you may think that rugby here in the Cook Islands is on its deathbed entirely. Mr Wright please pay respect to the volunteer coaches, players, managers, fundraising committees and administrators who work tirelessly to field teams every year who by the way work closely with local sponsors who spend thousands of dollars importing players from other countries to help our competition. These same people are the reason 7’s in Heaven is a world class tournament with world class players playing in it every year. These are the people who think rugby is very much alive here on the island. You also say players need to harden up because they lack passion, mana, prestige and power. Mana and passion is built into every player. It’s up to you as coach to find ways to tap into it. Power is taught by good coaches who have good training methods. Considering the poor results from the U18 and U20 campaigns I think you need to seriously pour all of your time and effort into mastering coaching and stopping the blowout scores. It’s not pretty and the blame should not be shifted to players. Look within first.  


“I AGREE THAT connecting the Cook Islands to a submarine cable would help with our internet woes, so would competition,” a smoke signaller says. “It's about time this government got serious about this. Mark Brown did bring it up again recently. Perhaps saving it for an election promise?  With Bluesky running things, the service has become worse. It seems they don't care because there is no competition. My home broadband allowance vanishes way quicker than when telecom was our service provider.”   


SS” TO THE smoke signaller who complained about Albert Nicholas giving Christmas gifts of chicken to some of his constituents: It’s apparently quite common for MPs to spread Christmas cheer among the elderly and needy in their constituencies and Albert Nicholas is not alone in this. Last month the DPM, Teariki Heather, also distributed food packages to people in his area and it was a much-appreciated gesture


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