Smoke Signals

Thursday June 21, 2018 Published in Smoke Signals

No airpoints for PM on flight to northern islands

Before the general election, caretaker PM, Henry Puna went on a taxpayer-funded trip to his constituency of Manihiki. That worked out very well for him, although there were no first class seats or airpoints on that trip.

Now that the smoke is clearing after last week’s election, it will be really interesting to see how long it takes the caretaker PM to find some “official” reason to find a final opportunity to fly off somewhere in order to take what we hope is his last chance travel courtesy of the taxpayers of this country. Good lesson for the incoming Demo government though is to learn that ministerial travel should be drastically limited …the iti tangata are watching that closely.

SS: With frantic negotiations still going on in the background, as to which party the independent election winners will side with, it could be a little early to be absolutely certain that our next government will be a Demo one. The PM’s flight to the north was privately funded (not paid for by the taxpayer) and we’re told the cost of a round trip to Manihiki on Air Rarotonga’s charter jet is $20,700. As a matter of interest, charter rates for the jet to the north are almost identical to the rates for a Bandeirante piston-engined plane. It’s twice the hourly rate, but gets there in half the time, with around the same payload.


A smoke signal we didn’t have room for last week, in regard to complaints about the misleading nature of MP Albert Nicholas’ election campaign billboard: “Wow, when did we introduce a billboard neighbourhood watch in the RAPPA area. You can’t handle what you see in the area, but you enjoy all the negativity that you make up about Minister Nicholas. Keep a close eye on him, because he will show you he keeps making it happen.”


And another, received too late to print before last Thursday’s election:

“Just reading the SS stating Albert’s billboard and allegedly misleading advertising. You, my dear need a reality check. When was the last time you stopped by the Avatiu district to see all the accomplishment Albert has done for his village and as minister of internal affairs?  Have you checked the social welfare starting rate and kids’ benefit, and pensioners’ benefit? Now tell me what’s misleading here? What you saw (on the billboard) was a true piece of information. He is trusted, he is fit, he keeps making it happen. What have you done besides judging? Put it on a billboard so we can be the judge.”

SS: The smoke signal complaining about Nicholas’ billboard was not about the MP’s accomplishments. It pointed out that his absence from Rarotonga, while seriously ill in a New Zealand hospital, was kept concealed for several weeks. CINews, for instance, was informed he was here on Rarotonga, when he most definitely wasn’t on the island. The smoke signal also correctly pointed out that after being seriously ill, Nicholas did not look as fit and as healthy as he did in the billboard photo.

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