Plan worth $120 million a year, says Tepaki

Tuesday May 22, 2018 Written by Published in Economy
Tepaki’s ultimate plan is to set up an alternative airline in the Cook Islands, using two leased four-engined jets. 18052114 Tepaki’s ultimate plan is to set up an alternative airline in the Cook Islands, using two leased four-engined jets. 18052114

Merchant of Paradise developer Tim Tepaki says the “Paradise Prosperity Plan” for development of the outer islands, which he plans to reveal next week, will yield an after-tax operational profit of more than $120 million a year.

And he says that with two thirds of shares in the plan’s “matrix of assets” going to the Pa Enua, the “deafening silence” of outer islands people which has so far greeted talk of developing their islands, will come to an end.

Tepaki claims the plan, which features ambitious developments including a new airline - and has been derided in some in the tourism industry, will bring to an end a situation where most of the outer islands have had “no economy to speak of.”

“And being election year we can expect an awakening of Pa Enua people like no other,” Tepaki saidin a letter to the editor of CINews on Sunday.

“They will want to know from political parties and candidates alike that should they become government, they will support the Pa Enua people engaging with Chinese partners to develop their islands under the One China Policy (OCP) aid platform as a commercial sector activity.

“They will also want to know that the next government will not stand in the way of Pa Enua people raising concessional finance set aside by China for commercial sector activity under OCP, not to be confused with concessional finance set aside by China for public sector activity.”

Tepaki said rumours that New Zealand would take Cook Islanders’ New Zealand passports and citizenship off them if the country engaged with China and employed Chinese funding to develop the Cook Islands economy, were “fake”. 

“Great Britain did not disown New Zealand and take away the British passports of those who became New Zealand citizens when New Zealand ascended to full sovereignty with its own seat at the UN did it? So why would New Zealand do that to us?

“Many New Zealanders now hold dual citizenships and passports, so why can’t we?

“During their Pacific Reset visit to our shores New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern said New Zealand will walk beside us and deputy prime Minister Winston Peters said the New Zealand government will not interfere in our internal affairs. So why should we believe these scaremongering aid addicts and not New Zealand’s prime minister and deputy prime minister?

Tepaki said the “scaremongering” being broadcast by some people that the Cook Islands was unable to repay the country’s debit to China was more “fake news”.

“The truth is the unserviceable Chinese debts in question are sovereign debts by some of our neighbours and not ours, and certainly nothing to do with Paradise Prosperity Plan development funding, which is a commercial sector activity.

“And our neighbours’ problem with debt servicing is self-inflicted, because their governments do not have a (finance minister) Mark Brown to enforce user-pays on their aid addicts and generate the return on investment necessary to service their debt.

“Brown may not be a good developer like me, but he is a good bean counter and funds manager; I expect he will announce shortly that we have topped $400 million GDP, which levels our external borrowing at the new UN rate of 40 per cent GDP at $160 million, thus making fools of aid addicts speculating doomsday mounting debts.

“Imagine the egg on face when they realize that our current debt of $143.5 million is within borrowing criteria and our total debt with China is only $34 million, making their mountain debt with China a lie.

“The mountain of debt is with ADB, a surrogate of the World Bank and the UN, and not a surrogate of China Development Bank.

“May I suggest to our aid addict friends that there is a simple fix for their maki, which is to get off the grass and jump on the plane to New Zealand, where aid is free, and forget the Cook Islands ever existed.

“And to our Pa Enua people: This is your time to develop your islands for the prosperity of all and pursue your freedom economy, and take our nation to developed status.

“Merchant of Paradise will walk beside you, so make us proud!” 

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