Ambassador was once women’s mag model

Friday December 01, 2017 Published in Smoke Signals

US Ambassador to New Zealand Scott Brown, who visited the Cook Islands this week, has an interesting past.

Not only is he one of the first ambassadors to be appointed by US president Donald Trump, he was also investigated this year for his behaviour at a party in Samoa. Two complaints investigated by the US State Department originally came from two female Peace Corps volunteers who were at the event, and guests at the party alleged the ambassador’s behaviour was “shocking”, “culturally insensitive”, “rude” and “undiplomatic”. Remind you of anyone? And back in 1982, Brown also posed naked for Cosmopolitan magazine after being voted “America’s Sexiest Man” in a contest run by the women’s publication.


Meitaki maata to the kind-hearted woman who drove a 4WD vehicle through Avarua on Monday morning. A hen was carefully trying to shepherd her two little chickens across the road from the centre line, all the while dodging out of the way of passing traffic. The driver of this one vehicle stopped well clear of the chickens and gave them enough time to reach the centre island before continuing on her way. If only all people on the island cared for animals (and other people) like this.


There’s been nothing in the news about it recently, but pigs, goats and other animals on the island are still being treated very badly by their owners. One Arorangi pig owner keeps his animals tied to trees with small lengths of rope and if they get tangled up to the point where they can’t move, well, it’s just too bad. Same if their tethered legs get injured, which happens more often than not. Food is confined to coconuts and some of these poor pigs are beyond thin. And now our bad treatment of animals has been highlighted in a story on Radio New Zealand.


When will we ever see the important Crimes Bill actually become law? Possibly never, if the glacial pace of the select committee chosen to oversee public consultation, is any indication. So far they’ve only held meetings around Rarotonga and on Aitutaki, with all the rest of the inhabited outer islands still to go. And not content with holding the Rarotonga meetings at vaka level, they now want to do it at village level, meaning more time and more money. Money or the lack of it, seems to be a problem for the committee, but it shouldn’t be. If it’s OK for the PM to spend $82,000 on chartering a jet to fly to Manihiki for the Te Maeva Nui celebrations, it should be just as OK for the committee to hire the same jet, flit from island to island over the space of a couple of weeks, and just get the job done.


This Telecom user waits with bated breath for the November bill from the friendly monopoly. It’s all well and good that there are currently no charges for mobile phone calls (and given the unreliability of those calls it’s a good thing they are not charging), but what about bills for land lines and broadband? Across the board discounts coming for the constant frustrations, the dropping off, the disconnections?


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