Wilkie Rasmussen: Government must call a new election

Friday May 01, 2020 Published in Letters to the Editor
Wilkie Rasmussen: Government must call a new election

Dear editor,

This Covid -19 phenomenon exposes the failures of the Government with regard to economics. There is no export in agriculture, in black pearls, in fish, in arts and crafts and so on.

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.

Wilkie Rasmussen

Ex-Minister of Finance

1 comment

  • Comment Link Edna Takaroka-Dashwood Friday, 01 May 2020 18:37 posted by Edna Takaroka-Dashwood

    There are so many problems with our economy, ideology and society as a whole. Call a new election, sure but where are the new voices? Where is the opposition and does it oppose actual policy or just that the other party is reaping it's spoils and now they want a turn too? I don't particularly like either of our choices currently. It's like the same people from the '80s stuck on repeat while most of our revenue goes into pockets not taxed heavily and selectively enough from the outset. So I vote how I vote, even though I find our environmental record appalling, strongly disagree with the disaster which is Te Mato Vai and wish very much that someone would plug the hole in our economy with some anti monopoly legislation, introduce heavier environmental taxes and levies and stop focusing on cheap as chips tourists from across the ditch. Because I can't see much of a difference with the opposition. A lot of whining but no fresh proposals. As to diversification, both of these political parties have long held an interest in mining the seabed and now they have the perfect justification to push ahead with that. Does it matter what the people think and even more critically what informs their understandings? The real diversification would be in stopping to reflect on decision making processes across all industries, identifying failures and successes, and making a solid plan for the future. While we're on that note, may I suggest this is why we need more women in parliament. We tend to think short, medium, long term and collectively, simultaneously. Difficult to do when the numbers are so stacked to see women as a minority. Would someone like to champion that cause and fast forward us 30 years into the present before suggesting we add to the current global crisis with a side serving of political instability?

Leave a comment