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RUTA MAVE: Cook Islands should invest in agriculture, not marijuana and seabed mining

Monday 9 October 2023 | Written by Ruta Tangiiau Mave | Published in Opinion


RUTA MAVE: Cook Islands  should invest in agriculture, not marijuana and seabed mining
Ruta Tangiiau Mave.

If the question is “What are the Crook Islands good for?”, the shameful answer is that they are good at begging for money, but shameful at giving it to help others, writes Ruta Mave.

In the old days of vinyl records, sometimes a scratch would cause the needle to get stuck in the groove, and the song would repeat the same word over and over. CDs came along, and despite the laser light, a scratch could also cause the song to repeat over and over until, in both cases, you bumped or jumped the record or CD to a new area so the song could continue.

My point is in line with a saying that says the question is the answer. And the point is with a couple of people, it seems regardless of the question, the answer is always the same, repeat-repeat at ad nauseum. For Steve Boggs, it is always medicinal marijuana, and for (Prime Minister) Mark Brown, it is mineral mining. Without recourse this is all they have to say every day, every letter to the editor and every promise to the nations under the guise of prosperity pathway for the Pacific.

Although I can agree to some of the intentions from both – to improve the livelihoods of our people, it is at costs, they are not forthcoming in looking at when they could both achieve their end motives if they both looked at something else, found a different solution and poured their time and efforts into improving our agriculture production.

Steve Boggs whines on and on about helping those in pain. He quotes all sorts of studies saying people need it now. He hasn’t quoted ex-addicts who would warn you that marijuana is addictive and it will stuff up your life and family like all drugs illegal or prescription wise if you rely solely on it for relief and health.  Never do I see Boggs offer the community the fence at the top of the cliff, where if we had a healthy attitude towards growing and eating our own fresh organic produce, most of our community would not be in the health crises they are in now.

Diabetes, NCDS and obesity are factors that most affect our people and give us the gold medal status as top five worst nation in the world. Where is the solution to the problem before it becomes a problem? Sure, marijuana can relieve pain, I get that it works, but I am not convinced that all our people are at the extreme measures of pain that requires this. I certainly do believe many of those who voted “yes” in the electoral vote only saw a way to access the drug for recreational pleasure especially if they could grow it free from persecution.

Same goes for PM Mark Brown and mineral mining the seabed. Why not harvest our own lands on the island that lie unused and full of mineral rich soil. We have a temperate climate, we can grow most things all year round, we can be organic, we can feed ourselves and still have crops to feed into highly paying niche markets.  Food is a commodity that the world needs and will pay hugely for now and in the future. We should be planting to bank the fruits of our labours which will also help our community to better face their health crises. Plus, by eating our own produce, we reduce the carbon foot print of shipping in nutrient deficit instant noodles and increase our contribution to reducing climate change effects.

Oh, I know I too sound like a stuck record saying the same thing over and over but I wish I didn’t have to. I want to be proud of what our country is achieving. I want to stand by our government’s decisions knowing we are contributing our ultimate best to helping the world improve. The $1.7 million spent on electric cars showing off our commitment to reducing fossil fuels and reducing pollution and temperature rise, etc. would be wonderful if we had hydro, wind, solar or wave energy produced power but we don’t. We have diesel generators producing our electricity that is shipped in – so these cars showing off our sustainability – is a lie.

I would like to be as proud of the $10,000 government donated to the Lahaina fires as the faces of those who stood in front of that big cardboard cheque. This piddly amount represents two members (MPs) dress allowance – it’s pathetic. Government happily spent $75,000 renovating one office or the $7 million for planting trees in town and they think giving $10,000 is a proud moment? Shame on you, when we had the hurricanes in 2005 the Lahaina community gave us more than they had to support us and they did it straight away not months after the effect.

If the question is “What are the Crook Islands good for?”, the shameful answer is that they are good at begging for money, but shameful at giving it to help others.