Vaimutu`uri Bridge, better known as Avatiu Bridge or Ruatonga Bridge. ICI/20100237
It cannot be stressed enough that it is the job of government to build infrastructure for our communities, writes Opposition Democratic Party leader Tina Pupuke Browne.
As adults we look back at moments in our childhood that
brought much happiness. Often these are around birthdays. The joy that
birthdays brought, for the presents that we received, friends and family that
came to help celebrate.
As we get older, birthdays take on a whole new meaning. We
often find ourselves paying for our own birthday and sometimes even paying for
the present; but still we celebrate this special day.
As adults we also become taxpayers. We receive our first pay
check, and look inside the small brown envelope and read the money earned, the
money taxed and the money we are left with. That money that was taxed, becomes
public monies which the government can then use as they chose. Upgrading roads,
building a hospital, building cyclone shelters, paying the salaries of all the public
servants in our country… it’s a very long list.
So, never forget it was you the worker, who pays taxes, that
helped pay for these projects. It is not the Cabinet Ministers. It is not the
heads of ministries … and is not government. It was you.
The September 2020 Quarterly Financial Report shows the
government estimated it would collect $93,814,000 in taxation revenue from
taxpaying workers in our country (in the 2020/21 financial year). Other Crown
Revenue estimated at $17,428,000 doesn’t even begin to match what our taxpayers
contribute each year.
So, like those birthdays we end up paying for, this current
government likes to constantly celebrate itself for projects you the taxpayer
paid for. Give itself a big self-congratulatory pat on the back for hospitals,
boats, roads and courthouses throughout the Pa Enua and Rarotonga that have
been built using money that was taken out of your weekly or fortnightly pay
packet. Using your contribution to the yearly tax take to build and buy things
for our communities.
So remember this. All those roads, hospitals and bridges
actually belong to you and were paid for by you. It is you the tax payer who
should be thanked and acknowledged. For going to work, working week in, week
out, paying your taxes which ensures that there is money in the government’s
public money coffers for these many infrastructure projects.
It cannot be stressed enough that it is the job of government to build infrastructure for our communities. It is the government’s absolute responsibility to make sure we have good roads, hospitals, wharfs, airstrips and so on. These things that the government has a duty to deliver to our people should never be regarded as a special gift that communities receive because the government is feeling generous to that community. Or that the building of these things is some sort of reward or treat to that community for loyalty to a particular party in the coalition government. Because no matter what government builds, it was you our people that paid for it.
This is the first part in a two-part series by Leader of the Opposition Tina Pupuke Browne.