Politicians’ shortcomings come home to roost at election time

Wednesday May 16, 2018 Published in Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor,

Party politics these days seem mostly to be about dirty politics.

They’re advanced by the perpetrators, most of them self-promoting people who are frequently given to gazing into TV cameras or sitting behind a radio station microphone, or grandstanding at public functions.

“Dirty politics” is a term aimed frequently by both major Cook Islands parties at each other and it often seems to be adopted in attempts by politicians to explain why major work hasn’t been accomplished while their party has been in government.

Now the shortcomings of those well-paid politicians who want to be re-elected next month are coming home to roost. It seems that our government is so imbued with a misguided sense of privilege that there are no major projects of any benefit for the voters and taxpayers of Rarotonga that have been contractually fulfilled, apart from the Chinese gift of Apii Nikao school.

To me, dirty politics is about politicians jetting off overseas in every possible direction to escape the reality that is Rarotonga left in the raw.

At the hospital, treatments and medication sometimes seem to be in short supply. Then there are problems such as the inefficient and unreliable postal service, contracted out, I understand, to Bluesky and the poor quality of our “potable” water supply, with Te Mato Vai still uncompleted. Other ongoing problems include the high cost of electricity, care of the aged, and care of the young.

Prime minister Henry Puna’s pathetic dismissal of George Pitt’s comments about the government’s shortcomings highlight the real nature of our “leader,” who appears to be no stranger to dirty politics, if Pitt has got it right.

In my opinion, Puna is on the way out. I hope so, because otherwise the people of the Cook Islands will have to put up with dirty politics for a lot longer.

Accountability and aid money have become so separated that one is left wondering if all the grandstanding that goes on in government circles is in fact designed to mask the real goings-on in parliament.

In my opinion, the flash road that was built in finance minister Mark Brown’s constituency is a one-fingered salute to every village on Rarotonga and in our beloved country.

Why hasn’t the same opportunity to have better roads been extended to every village on the island? And just look at the travesty that is the main road through tourist centre Muri’s “Golden Mile.”

If they are going to make anything happen, the government has to introduce a lot better governance and much more accountability to the way they do things. Telling taxpayers the truth about everything that is going on would be a good start, I believe.

The truth is that “making it happen” is rare among politicians and political reform would put this to the test. If that were to happen, some super-privileged and lazy MPs would be called to account.

The minor players –we, the voters, who are witnesses to the utter wastage of materials and cash that is going on at the moment, would then become contributors to the running of this country rather than simply put up with the dog eat dog situation that we have now.

Why court the voters of Rarotonga if you don’t have much to offer? If Mark Brown is to be believed, outer islanders are lining up at polling booths in their electorates to vote, and this early election might not compromise the lifestyles of the present crop of government MPs. Never mind all the unfinished projects and broken promises.

Rarotonga is a beautiful island that is God’s gift to us and it is not to be spoiled by the privileged few who promise us everything and deliver on just some of it.

Think seriously before you vote because there is a lot at stake. Young or old, your vote counts.

There are good people who will do us proud again, but they are not dressed in green!

            Don Reid

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