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LETTERS: What about our environment?

Tuesday 28 June 2022 | Written by Supplied | Published in Opinion


LETTERS: What about our environment?

Dear Editor, interesting to read about Lord Howe Island and how they have gone down a completely different road than the Cook Islands in terms of attracting tourists.

They limit the numbers to a very low level, they promote the environment and have enormous reserves, both marine and terrestrial (land), and all the residents are happy, healthy, and prosperous.

They actually enforce rules to protect their environment, and they have a long-term plan.

We have a large problem here, we are at a crossroad, what do we do for the future generations?

Reduce numbers of tourists by increasing prices, therefore increasing the wages of staff to retain them, possibly?

People will pay to visit a clean, well administered country.

We should be seriously considering a marine reserve area which is not a Raui, but a permanently protected (with fines) area or areas of the lagoon and reef system, possibly where the turtle people go?

I have spoken with tourists who have said the fish life is less now than earlier visits.

The blatant disregard of the hard work at the Rarotongan snorkelling area during Covid-19 is an example, the fish were tame and there were plenty.

The tourists left, and as predicted, the fish were speared out of existence, and some were even left on the seashore to rot along with the glass and nappies.    

The landfill is not going to solve itself, is it? What is the plan?

The wastewater is another massive problem, what is the plan?

The continual disregard for the environment is appalling. Where is the Ministry of Environment or Marine Resources when it comes to these issues?

It appears that the private sector is leading the way again, planting the riverbanks, collecting rubbish, growing plants in nurseries, organising discussion meetings around the island, but it seems to be completely ignored, by the so-called ministries.

If we want this country to survive, we must protect it, it is a gift and it is our responsibility to protect it not ruin it.

I look forward to a response.

Nick Reeves

National Environment Service Director Halatoa Fua responds: From a NES perspective, we’ve just launched our comms last Friday. Our next work will be focused on completing our national environment policy and amendments to our legislation, which will facilitate some of the areas highlighted, particularly on environmental impact. 

Thanks Jacinda

Praise for keeping the Cook Islands safe by the Canadian expert is misdirected. He praises our government when he should be praising the New Zealand leader Jacinda Ardern. 

Our government would have opened the borders early, as shown by Prime Minister Mark Brown, twice making a border opening announcement out of turn. Jacinda closed our borders and then provided all the vaccines free of charge, all in good time, so we could be fully vaccinated before tourists arrived.

She also gifted the Cook Islands millions of dollars to support our economy during the pandemic. Praise is duly given to the health workers who carried out the roll out of vaccination that was well done, although it too was overseen by New Zealand managers. 

We should give credit where credit is due, Jacinda saved us from suffering huge hospitalisations and deaths from Covid.

R Ero