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Budget 2022/23 Passed

Friday 27 May 2022 | Written by Caleb Fotheringham | Published in Economy, National

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Budget 2022/23 Passed
Member for Pukapuka and Nassau Tingika Elikana drowns clock during question time. Photo: Caleb Fotheringham/22052610

The Members of the Parliament and staff worked overtime on Thursday to pass the 2022 Appropriation Bill (Budget) through its third reading at 7.30pm.

A total of $320,392,247 has been appropriated for the 2022/23 financial year. The Ministry of Finance and Economic Management were appropriated the highest amount of any ministry at $29,167,236. Health was given the second highest amount at $20,238,832 and Education was third with $20,175,619.

Just over $34 million was set aside for capital spending – about $2 million more than last year’s budget.

The Pa Enua have been given a total of $11,735,35, Aitutaki received the highest amount of $2,070,312 with Palmerston getting the least with $415,503.

The Opposition gave up half of its question time yesterday after the Government told the Democratic Party it was going to pass the Bill.

Leader of the Opposition, Tina Browne said giving up 30 minutes of question time was a sacrifice for her party.

“We had to look at the hours and the balance of the appropriation for the ministries and it was more important to us to be able to talk on the appropriations than to ask the questions for an hour,” Browne said.

“Question time is important to us but it’s about working out if we want the question time or if we make a contribution to the allocations in respect of each ministry.”

Meanwhile, the MP for Pukapuka and Nassau Tingika Elikana spent nearly 10 minutes – a third of the question time – answering whether fresh fish and taro could be sent from the Northern group to Rarotonga.

The question was asked by Akaoa MP Nooroa Baker on Wednesday that carried over to Thursday.

Titikaveka MP Selina Napa raised a point of order twice asking for Elikana to answer the question, Ngatangiia MP Tama Tuavera also interjected once and said the question was not being answered.

Elikana used the time to talk about the Reverend’s message prior to Parliament starting, tourism in the northern group, looking at the Opposition’s Facebook account and waffles from Punanga Nui Market’s waffle shack.

“The question that was asked did not say if I should answer it ‘yes or no’, that is the difference in the way I ask questions … my friend who asked the question left the ball open,” Elikana said.

After close to 10 minutes, Elikana said: “The short answer is yes.”

Tuavera told Cook Islands News he would like to see people not play with time and just answer the question.

“Being on this (the Oppositions) side and listening to someone go on and on is frustrating while we’re looking at the time.”

However, Elikana said he did not think he was wasting time.

He said he was trying to answer the question so the Opposition would understand. 

Elikana also said the Opposition’s question was not precise enough.