Smoke Signals

Tuesday May 08, 2018 Published in Smoke Signals

Here’s how government could use those spare millions


I find it almost insulting to have a government that will brag about the millions of dollars they’ve ‘saved’ when we have so many outstanding projects waiting to be done. It seems we didn’t need to steal all that money from our pensioners after all, since we have so much money being lorded over our heads. I don’t pay taxes just so the government can sit around bragging about all the money they have. Please put it to use and fix the roads, subsidise flights and more shipping to our pa enua, equip our police and hospital with better resources and personnel, and subsidise the outrageous bank interest rates in this country!


Can we please all give Taoro Brown and his family a break from mass media. Despite his actions, we, the people, should give them recognition because we all know that they show more commitment and dedication to the lovely people of Atiu and everyone else, than what the other members of parliament do for their elected districts.


There was no media release to the tax payers of the country before the group of people left for the PM’s bilateral ministerial visit to New Zealand last month. It was only well after the group departed that the country was informed through a Ministry of Foreign Affairs media release of the State visit. A State visit is not only government and Cabinet ministers but also includes the Queen’s Representative, the leader of the opposition and high ranking representatives from the community. The prime minister needs to come clean to the nation about the State visit and show pre travel official documents proving this to be the fact. Why was there a real need for a State visit when the discussions were around the same discussions held only weeks before with the New Zealand PM’s visit for Te Mato Vai, New Zealand superannuation and annual aid talks? The only new agenda was the proposed housing for Cook Islands medical referrals in Auckland. Surely this could have been dealt with through the Wellington High Commission and the Auckland Consulate? Can PM Puna inform tax payers how much public money was spent for the group of 10 to travel to New Zealand with all the perks and luxury of business class and VIP treatment. We expect a response within a few days, much like their delayed media release on the State visit.

SS: For the record, CINews broke news of the trip before the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration issued a belated press release about it.


Taxpayers pay their hard-earned taxes to Government to provide basic services, law and order and essential infrastructure for its citizens. What is happening now is that the finance minister can dictate where funds are spent and what type of services are needed in particular constituencies in the country. This is the reason why Takuvaine has the best sealed roads compared to other villages. They run from town all the way up the valley. Forget the Muri road, which has the highest density of tourist accommodation on the island and forget all the potholes and poor roads in the other villages. You see, spending over a million dollars of the smooth road type is easy as the minister is in charge and can do as he wishes. Good for the people of Takuvaine but minister Brown needs to know that this is not his money but the peoples’ money,so be fair in allocating this to all villages, including villages with Opposition MPs. Deputy PM Teariki Heather’s company, T&M Heather Ltd, has been given government contracts  worth millions over the past eight years. A clear conflict of interest, I believe.


It’s shocking but not surprising news that Minister Nandi Glassie spent over $30,000 on his Geneva junket, flying business class and staying in 5-star hotels with lavish expenses and civil list allowances. Now add eight years of travel then Nandi has spent well over $240,000 on all his Geneva travels. Sorry Atiu, this would have been the salary of a full time doctor. I don’t think Nandi comes close to Henry Puna in public spending not forgetting his airpoints dollars paid by the peoples’ public money. Mark Brown is second “best” in airpoints and civil list expenses. Enough is enough when it comes to the CIP’s high spending lifestyle. The CIP must be voted out come June 14.


It’s time we employed some parking wardens in town on the weekends. Parking is ridiculous, especially around the market. People are leaving half their car sticking out on the road! There are plenty of spaces at the back but people are too lazy to walk 50 extra metres. It’s appalling the way some arrogant people leave their cars parked. Signs would also help so tourists know there is parking at the back of the market, too.

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