No, the minister for Agriculture hasn’t disappeared

Monday June 19, 2017 Published in Smoke Signals

“It was good to see Kiriau Turepu opening the new mural at the new National Environment Service building,” a smoke signaller says.

“I thought he must have disappeared because we haven’t heard anything from him or his ministry since he told the farmers to “get busy” to justify why we pay him $50,000 a year as Agriculture and Environment minister. Meanwhile, more and more lands are turning into noni plantations where the land is cleared and kept cleaned and earns the landowner money instead of costing them each year to clean for families who live overseas and don’t contribute. All this planting is also helping those in private enterprise with the right foresight and care, to create a local organic business. Now why can’t Agriculture do something like that so we can grow enough fruit and vegetables to feed our domestic and local tourist markets?


“The promoters of the recent fight night indicated in CI News that all the spectators enjoyed the spectacle on the night,” a smoke signaller says. “Not all. There were those who departed after the first bout, having listened in the first instance to a prayer seeking the blessing of the Prince of Peace. Then within minutes, those who had just prayed were screaming for more blood after the first blood was spilled. Does anyone dare to suggest that the Christ, 2000 years ago, would have attended such a demonstration of bloodlust? Does anyone suggest that the Lord blessed the night’s expression of all that is contrary to the teachings of Christ? Will the promoters tell us just how the spectacle on Rarotonga was any different than the spectacle in the coliseum of Rome during the life of Christ when that crowd was baying for blood?”


Regular attendees of major media conferences were left a little bemused on Tuesday when they were treated to possibly the longest question ever asked of a politician. A smoke signaller says, “the multi-paragraphed question bordered on speech length” and must have lasted for about a minute. The signaller says you could see the eyes of both prime minister Henry Puna and his Kiwi counterpart Bill English glaze over by the time the questioner took his first breath. How they ever managed to keep track of the gist of it was a miracle, the signaller says. Journalists squirmed and media advisers were seen rolling their eyes. Afterwards it was noted that the question took longer to ask than it did to answer.


The “traditional” welcome (turou) performed at the House of Ariki on Tuesday to welcome New Zealand PM Bill English and his retinue, was plain embarrassing, a CI News reader says. “Apparently ‘someone’ decided the welcome would be a mixture of different Cook Islands cultures plus a bit of New Zealand Maori added in. “I think the result was something that might have been conjured up in Disneyland. Another reader says she has had complaints from Cook Islands women in their 80s and other influential, respected and older residents.


It’s nice to see fresh road markings on some parts of the island, a smoke signaller says. “It’s a good start, but when are they going to do the rest of the island.”

Another smoke signaller says it would be nice to have road markings on the back road too, but there’s nowhere to put them, because most of the tar seal has been replaced by potholes. “There’s certainly no room for a centreline because there’s really only room for one-way traffic. If you want to pass another vehicle or pull over to let someone past, you have to dive off into the undergrowth. Meanwhile, we still have tourists out walking in the dead of night wearing dark clothing, and other visitors tottering around on bicycles in the dark, too. It’s an accident waiting to happen.”


Why haven’t the motorcycle licence fees reverted to the old and much more affordable $30? We don’t know, and neither it seems does the prime minister. It seems Cabinet decreed some time ago that the fees should revert to the old price, but the cops aren’t taking any notice. “Surely they have to do what they’re told,” a smoke signaller says. “In the meantime our tourism industry is suffering and bike rental companies are going down the drain.”

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