Ulterior motives behind government tax write-off?

Wednesday February 07, 2018 Published in Smoke Signals

$18 million written off for those outfits that cheated every law abiding citizen of this country before 2010.

Talk about nepotism gone mad. Only in Raro! How can this happen? What about those “good” people who have already sorted out their arrears and penalties from before 2010? Perhaps they will get their penalties repaid? Obviously this is a scheme dreamed up as a lifeline to save some major local businesses. I suggest that the public can have a very good guess as to which companies those are. I rest my case!


The Minister of Tax Evasion says: “The emphasis behind the tax amnesty was to move the liabilities which have been sitting on our books for a number of years.” What? Amounts collectable by RMD are not liabilities, they are assets. Liabilities are what you have to pay. Assets are what you own or are entitled to. The minister has wiped off millions of dollars that were correctly owing to the Crown.


Good on John Scott for challenging the police over dog registration. At least someone has the intestinal fortitude to stand up to these people, who make up their own “laws” as they see fit. And good on him for catching out the Commissioner, who was obviously desperate not to have to discuss the non-existent dog register and was busy behind a broom with his housekeeping duties.


Government’s decision to wipe out millions of dollars owing in tax is insane, and sends the wrong message to people about their legal responsibility to pay. I have always paid my taxes but I know plenty of people on Rarotonga who don’t – and now they will get away with it. It’s not just the “little people” – there are numerous businesses linked with people on both sides of the political divide who will benefit from this. Sad.


If the police are so anxious to grab their guns and use helpless dogs for target practice, why is it that so many owners who neglect their dogs, don’t ever register them and ignore the rules about the dog limit per household, continually get away with it? Just last week I saw nine dogs cross the road in Avarua in a pack – and not one of them was wearing a collar. They were just down the road from the police station, by the way.


After emphatically stating they were going to shoot any dog not wearing a registration tag, never mind checking whether the tag had been lost or stolen, the police are now backtracking and looking at what they were proposing to do is in fact legal. That’s in sharp contrast with the arrogant comments that have come from the police media lackey. The police must understand they’re there to uphold existing laws – not just make up their own laws as they go along. Silence, as per usual, from the minister of police.


While the police are consulting lawyers about dog registration legislation, maybe they could also check whether they really have the right to confiscate the bikes and cars of those who have been drinking, but are not over the limit. They might also enquire as to whether it’s legal to confiscate motorbikes belonging to people caught for not wearing a helmet. And they might also have an internal inquiry as to why some officers target school kids and tourists, but let heaps of other people zoom around at untold miles an hour with no helmets and no rear vision mirrors. Is it a case of who you know rather than what you know?


Around Christmas time, the police contradicted themselves with pronouncements about unsafe riding on the back of trucks. A youngster fell off the back of a truck and there were lots of “oohs” and “aahs” on social media, and the police didn’t comment. Then the police media person said it was OK to ride on the back of a truck provided you were sitting down. Just when we thought that must be the law (if there is one), a police officer said the very next day it was also OK to ride standing up, as long as you were hanging on to something secure. The media person said the police would be on the lookout for trucks bearing unsafe loads over the festive period. The result: no-one took any notice and the dangerous practice of sitting on plastic chairs and allowing children to ride standing up without hanging on to anything, just continued. The most dangerous practice of all is sitting on the side of the tray, that’s still happening too.


It would be very easy for the government to prove to OECD officials that the Cook Islands is far from being a developed country. All they have to do is take these people for a drive on the back road and some of the side roads on Rarotonga. This very dangerous pothole, a suspension-wrecker if we ever saw one, was pictured on the back road in Kavera, not far from the Bluesky satellite station. It’s been like there for two years or more and when it’s full of water, it’s impossible to tell that it’s there. The drink bottle gives some idea of the depth of the hole. And there are hundreds more like it all over the island.

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