Tuesday May 30, 2017 Published in Smoke Signals

Five islands are missing from our national flag

“Isn’t it time that our local police hierarchy replaced their flag (pictured right)?” a smoke signaller asks. “This one is missing five stars as far as I see or have we lost five islands? Has anyone else noticed this sad state of affairs?”



Here’s a great tip for anyone with a bit of spare money. Don’t invest it in gold or on the sharemarket, and don’t stash it away in one of those offshore banks where people seem to conceal their money from their spouses and the authorities. Go to New Zealand fill your suitcases with fresh cauliflowers and sell them in the Cook Islands. A smoke signaller says one less-than impressive specimen was on sale at a local supermarket last week for a jaw-dropping $26.00. Tourists shoppers were gaping in amazement, incredulous that a humble vegetable could cost so much. As one local observed, it’s just as well we don’t rely on air-freighted foods to keep us healthy.”


“Papa Williams’ letter to the editor on the “media battle” between Tina Browne and Mata-Atua McNair got me thinking,” a smoke signaller says. “A few years ago when the Group for Political Change (GPC) was active, they participated in radio talkback, on issues of political reform, and attempted to hold public panel discussions and debates with candidates from both political parties. Tina Browne’s entry into the political arena is a breath of fresh air as she attempts to explain the Democratic Party’s policies to the public.  It’s time to extend the “battle” to a public debate or panel discussion between Browne and McNair and other potential political candidates on the important issues that have been raised, so that we the public can hear how they respond and how well they articulate their responses.”


“What or who is CIWGDO?” a smoke signaller asks. “Have I been sleeping under a rock? Have I missed something? The survey they are presumably sending to anyone whose email address they can obtain is missing one crucial thing - information on who they are. Who are its executives? Patron? Are they an NGO? Who is the president, or founder? When were they established? How are they affiliated with the existing Disabled Centre which already attracts a lot of donor funding? Is this a case of a similar organisation doing what another existing one already does? Do we really need another of the same? Do we have that many disabled people in this country?


Go Serena Hunter! You’re not just hot, you’re an inspiration to all of us who are trying to get fit and healthy, just like you.


Why the two party system is not working in the Cook Islands: If your own party doesn’t accept your nomination for your electorate, you jump to the other side, then cross over when your party gets in. The Matavera Democratic Party runoff election held last Wednesday evening between staunch Cook Islands Party supporter, Vaitoti Tupa and an equally staunch Democratic Party supporter, Cassey Eggleton, resulted in the Cook Islands party supporter winning the election. The day and date when the runoff election was to be held was not advertised within the two-week period required and the Democratic party nominee, her family and supporters were unaware the election was to be held. She was not present at the elections. Great to see the democratic process and transparency in practice! What’s going to happen in Ngatangiia?


Another by-election has come and gone, but concerns about government workers helping certain candidates with their campaigns continue to circulate. It’s actually illegal for a civil servant to help with election campaigns and that should be clear to all of them,” a smoke signaller says. “But year after year, it still happens.”


“There was yet another accident in town yesterday involving visitors on a motorbike,” a smoke signaller says. Thankfully they were wearing helmets and didn’t appear to have been too badly hurt. It’s great to see so tourists wearing them – the only thing is, does it make them feel a little more invincible than they would otherwise? On the less positive side, there are still scores of locals riding around without helmets and the police seem to ignore them. However, they are still targeting college students. Is it because they are easier game?


A smoke signaller says he is tired of reading “all the nonsense” from the politicians in the daily newspaper. “They are turning their point from the most important issue of all times. They are all worried about fish and birds, but not about their own people – the indigenous Maori people of the Cook Islands. According to an article I read, there will be no more full-blooded Maori in few years’ time. The full-blooded Maori people will become extinct just like the Dodo bird. People will be reading about us in history books and watching us on TV documentary channels. I believe the Finance minister made a mistake in announcing improvements to the child welfare benefit system because there is no point of having such a system when there will be no children to spend the money on. The other issue is who is going spend the billions of dollars we are allegedly going to earn from minerals and fish. And if, as I believe, politicians are also encouraging women not to have babies, how is this going to help us in keeping our identity alive?”

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