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Smoke Signals

Wednesday May 23, 2018 Published in Smoke Signals

Still more questions than answers on writeoff

John Scott’s excellent review of the huge tax writeoff in the millions by the CIP gives us more questions than answers. The main burning question is whether or not caretaker and soon to go finance minister Mark Brown may have allegedly designed and timed the tax writeoff for certain political friends and business colleagues (including themselves) on purpose with intent and not by economic demand.

Our tax secrecy laws and the recent hike in disclosure penalties raises more questions – as John Scott puts it, this tax activity may be “legalised corruption”. All unpaid income tax, VAT and PAYE as at January 1, 2010, is forgiven. All this tax forgiveness and writeoff carried out before a pending election. Now we all know election day is June 14, 2018. However, prior to this, no one knew except the CIP top brass of Henry Puna, Mark Brown and very close associates. All good material for a High and Appeal Court judgement?


When will the government start thinking of us, the Cook Islanders? The current fish situation is ridiculous. The government has taken what we have in our oceans and sold it off to the highest bidder, which leaves nothing for our local people to eat. How is it that Ocean Fresh are selling tuna for $25/kg but the government has sold our fish to the EU for less than a dollar – how does that justify things? A staple of island life is to enjoy our wonderful resources – in particular our fish – but nope, that is no longer the case. It is time that we vote for a government in this next election who will think about the locals first and foremost.


Tourists sauntering along the road in groups sprawling into the middle of the road is plain stupid. Please walk in a single file for your own safety. Bicycles and motorbikes occasionally riding together, please ride single-breasted. Drivers that cut in front of you, just missing your car, are a danger on the road. Check your rearview mirror to make sure you have safely passed the car in front of you. I wonder who gave them their licence. Riding with a child in front while holding onto them with one arm, and also riding with a child on the back of the seat without being properly tied on is dangerous and lacks care for the child’s safety. I’ve seen three to four on a motorbike seat. Safety harnesses should be made compulsory for children on motorbikes. So many more cars on the road now, we can no longer be complacent about road safety.


Listening to Murienua MP James Beer stating that the EU is only paying 16 cents per kilogram for fish caught in the Cook Islands under the purse seine agreement signed by PM Henry Puna is absolutely disgusting and to me it’s ocean robbery in the high seas. While our people pay between $10, $20 and sometimes $25 per kilo for fish at the market or at Ocean Fresh, people in Europe are eating our fish for a mere pittance. Why Henry Puna and the CIP government would ever sign an agreement such as this is mind-boggling and unbelievable. Ignoring the signed petition of well over 4000 local residents speaks for the ignorance and for the utter disrespect Henry Puna has for his own people. It’s now time to have your say – vote Puna and the CIP government out and vote the Democratic Party in, they care and will listen to the cries of the people.


The timing of building the Manihiki Airport terminal after the announcement of the June 14 election is clouded with some speculation and questions of behind-the-scenes planning by the PM and ICI. After being empty and not having a terminal for more than 20 years, what’s a delay of 10 weeks? This activity will certainly affect some or all voters in Manihiki and for that reason it should never have started until after the June 14 election. Has ICI budgeted the $150,000 announced on CITV for this construction? This is the CIP mentality – push forward at all costs, even if it bends the rules and breaks the law!


Well done to George Pitt for his daily radio commentary about the state of politics in the Cook Islands every morning. In particular for his detailed analysis of what is happening on many of the big issues surrounding government projects and expenditure. Not much is said about the opposition as they have been out of government for eight long, painful years. I believe that without George Pitt being vocal and fearless in disclosing all the interesting information on government, our people will not really know what’s going on. High-five to G Pitt for open, free media and transparency!