Wednesday 22 February 2023 | Written by Supplied | Published in Letters to the Editor, Opinion
I would also comment that Cook Islands News has confirmed that, in addition to querying the costs with RMD/MFEM, they queried the costs with Air New Zealand.
In response to the queries raised, Air New Zealand has not released details of the costs. It is disappointing that Cook Islands News has never included this fact in any of their articles on the matter. In the interests of providing a fair and balanced report, rather than the one-sided reporting that has occurred painting a picture of RMD/MFEM as an organisation trying to hide, this should have been reported.
With respect to the comments regarding the Director of Revenue Management taking a sabbatical and the decision in the Air New Zealand case there is no correlation between the two events. The tax assessments, the objection from Air New Zealand to the assessments and the request from Air New Zealand to have the matter heard in court all occurred before the appointment of the current Director of Revenue Management (Xavier Mitchell) as did the decision to proceed with the court case.
I also note that it has been reported by Cook Islands News, and repeated in this letter to the editor, that RMD received advice not to proceed with the court case. This is incorrect. RMD never received any advice not to proceed with the case.
Alan Richardson, acting controller, comptroller and director Revenue Management Division, Ministry of Finance and Economic Management
Cook Islands News responds. The newspaper published a story headlined Air NZ also silent in tax case costs on January 26, after contacting the airline multiple times with questions pertaining to the case. The publication then continued to repeat the airline’s response in subsequent stories. The publication approached the airline with questions in August 2022 and it acknowledged the outcome of the High Court that had resulted in Cook Islands Revenue Management owing the airline money.
Cook Islands News has previously made it clear the publications understands the Revenue Management Division had been advised not to tax Air New Zealand, but sought further advice from New Zealand lawyers who then advised them to pursue the matter.
Takitumu Primary School has finally got its new fencing along the road boundary with the playing field - something promised over 12 months ago by the previous Minister.
From meetings, I understood some tree planting and beautification would take place in conjunction with the fencing. Instead we have an ill-conceived 100 plus metres of expensive New Zealand standard “Heavy and Cold” Armco highway guardrail placed in front of the fencing..
This looks like some standard put to ICI from its New Zealand ‘specialists’ and just accepted without any real thought.
Come on ICI, if we can have a nice colourful mural along the seawall on the western side of the island, surely you can have some imagination from your staff and provide on the eastern side of the island, some nice planting/landscaping with rocks and palm trees and remove the guardrail to where it belongs better --- to our bridge approaches
It's time for the Prime Minister of the Cook Islands, Mr Mark Brown, the Minister responsible for Customs to make a public announcement guaranteeing all visitors to our shores, that if all the criteria is met under the Ministry of Health Act 2013. (Pharmacy and Therapeutics Products) Regulations Part 5--Controls and dealings with therapeutic products, 23--Importation and supply of therapeutic products, # (7), then medicinal cannabis products are acceptable for use in this nation.
There's an old saying," The buck stops here". That phrase was popularised by United States President Harry S. Truman, who kept a sign with that phrase at his desk in the Oval Office.
The phrase refers to the notion that the President has to make the decisions and accept the ultimate responsibility for those decisions.
The Prime Minister needs to accept the ultimate responsibility to uphold the law and put an end to all of the unnecessary nonsense that is going on at our arrival gates regarding the legal importation of medicinal cannabis products of patients who arrive in our nation.
The Prime Minister must make sure that Customs and TMO are working in concert and not interfering in the rights of patients to take their prescribed medicine.