MOP developer’s comments seen as ‘bizarre and irrational’

Friday January 11, 2019 Published in Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor,

Tim Tepaki’s letter in CINews on January 8, criticising Demo Opposition parliamentary leader Junior Maoate's comments regarding the story headlined, “Demos call for due diligence on MOP plan" as “bizarre”, are in themselves very strange – and bizarre.


The Demos are likely to be well positioned to become the new government in coming weeks. So for them to at least make possible provision to carry out a full and comprehensive number-crunching exercise on all facets of Merchant of Paradise’s plan, shows they are at least willing to consider it.

That's why Tepaki’s criticism of Maoate's comments is not only unjust and illogical, but in my opinion, also bizarre and irrational.

To tell you the truth, I would have binned the MOP “Paradise Prosperity Plan” long ago.

Why? It’s simple!

If this plan was feasible, it would have already been financed long ago from the private sector and would perhaps even have succeeded, as long as full and comprehensive due diligence was applied and the necessary safeguards put in place to mitigate any potential problems. That is what would be expected of any potentially successful business enterprise.

However, if those with a vested interest in MOP’s plan (Tepaki, Freddy Webb, the rest of their team and the collective Pa Enua “landowners”), can’t or won’t put their own capital into this scheme, they will not be able to get foreign investors or a joint venture partner to finance it. And that will clearly be a signal nobody wants to finance it, because they know it’s simply not a sound investment.

A story in CINews on December 28, headlined: “Study on China's Belt and Road initiative ranks Cook Islands as…Least Suitable”, and Kata's very relevant cartoon on January 3, pretty much summed up the situation regarding Chinese investment in the Cook Islands.

Both the story and the cartoon would have come as a huge relief for Cook Islanders everywhere, as well as for the countless manuhiri (esteemed and honoured guests), who, like us, love our Te Ipukarea paradise just the way it is!

Perhaps Tepaki may have missed it, but reading between the lines, I think if a survey undertaken by a respected Chinese university has deemed the Cook Islands as “least suitable” for their Belt and Road initiative, then there’s no way China would want us to be a part of their overall plan at all. Nor would they be likely to hand over $300 million for the MOP plan.

Actually, following the news from China that the Cook Islands together with Palestine and Yemen have been declared “least suitable” for the Belt and Road initiative, it’s pretty bizarre that Tepaki continues to persist with his MOP plan. It seems to me that following this news, there is very little prospect of any handout for his project.

Not only is Tepaki’s persistence bizarre, but some might also suggest that it’s desperate. Perhaps our government’s threat of court action against the China Civil Engineering and Construction Company for their allegedly substandard workmanship on the Te Mato Vai project, was the final straw.

In any case, Tim, at least you gave it your very best shot.

And bro’ - enjoy the kai moana in Aotearoa, as you endeavour, in your own words, to “forget the Cook Islands ever existed!”

            Papa Williams

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