Smoke Signals

Wednesday December 19, 2018 Published in Smoke Signals

TMV debacle shows govt won’t listen to expert advice

Thanks to this government not listening to expert advice, and building Te Mato Vai water intakes first and ring mains last, I believe our new ring main pipe is now contaminated with mud, silt and stones from recent rain. So much for providing the island with clean potable water. Politicians should stay away from construction projects and leave it to the people who know what they are doing.



Of course, we all know that Infrastructure Cook Islands will fill every pothole on the island before their staff take off for the holidays. The question is, will they fill them with just gravel or with gravel and tar?


With the (so far partial) disclosure by government of the disaster which is Te Mato Vai, when, oh when are they going to disclose that the big black pipes that form the new inner and outer ring mains are not labelled as they must be as to the type of pipe that they are? Which is to say, when oh when, will they disclose that the big black pipes are not drinking water quality?


It is true some of the biggest deposits of rare-earth elements lie in the middle of the Pacific, but mining them will come at a great cost. People of the Cooks Islands, please don't be misled by the government's Marae Moana smokescreen for what is no more than token protection against potentially irreversible future pollution while cashing in on our pristine corner of Moana Nui O Kiva. A shared article on Facebook from the National Geographic said: “Deep-sea mining could end up having the largest footprint of any single human activity on the planet in terms of area of impact.” We should wait and see before any activity is taken within our entire exclusive economic zone. Is it not enough our fish are being taken by the boatload back to Asia? Now more greedy overseas companies want to plunder our sacred seabed and leave it polluted for our mokopuna. I say kare!


Is the Finance minister taking lessons from US “leader” Donald Trump in bending the truth? Has he taken heed of media mogul George Pitt’s philosophy that if you tell a lie often enough it will become the truth? Or has he emulated the late Apple president Steve Jobs and discovered the secret to creating reality distortion fields? Whatever, his handling of the Te Mato Vai project has been mind-bogglingly bad – and disconcertingly hard to follow. One minute everything is OK apart from a few component quality problems, perhaps, and then…hello! We suddenly have a complete disaster  of a project that’s going to cost north of $100 million. A far cry from the $60 million project Brown used to boast about.


Years and years of police warnings about speeding and drink driving seem to have had no effect at all. That’s if the mounting number of people caught drink driving this year - and the almost record number of accidents are any indication. The key to solving this problem lies in being consistent with enforcing the law. Too many people on this island get away with breaking the law because they are well connected politically, or because they are “family” etc, etc. The same applies to our ridiculous motorcycle helmet law. Some people who should be wearing them blatantly get away with not bothering, while others (mostly college students and tourists), get fined on the spot.

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