All we had was tourism. And we also imported a hell of a lot. The imbalance was significant.
It appears lessons have not been learned from the crisis of the 1990s. Fundamentally, it was to rejig the Cook Islands economy from being a public service driven one to competitive forces in the private sector. That all relied on avoiding traps such as hiring too many people onto the Government payroll.
But no, instead this Government maximised jobs along with high salaries in the public sector. This of course invited nepotism and party political appointments to rear their ugly heads.
Rules designed to ensure proper conduct and protocol were bent for political convenience and outcomes of carelessness and recklessness was allowed to creep in.
The collapse of tourism has now exposed the naked truth of a Government not interested in diversifying.
This is due to its unyielding belief that the tourism bubble will not burst. Well, it did and we are facing the worst crisis the country will ever experience.
The Government is now in damage control mode. It begs the question. Can it stem the bleeding? All in all, that's what arrogance, being unscrupulous and not listening to public opinion brings you.
This Government should call an election in the near future to get a mandate from the people. Frankly, it has lost its mandate as a consequence of the coronavirus.
Ex-Minister of Finance