Would a new government be any better?

Monday July 18, 2016 Written by Published in Tropical Chronicles

I KNOW you people can see what I mean. A change will inevitably result in a bad government being replaced by another bad one, or worse, by an incompetent one - and even worse, by an incompetent one run by rogues.


Would a new government be any better?

By crikey, weren’t the last few weeks eventful!

The issues that sprouted from the apparent carelessness of the Speaker and Clerk of Parliament must have given the Prime Minister Henry Puna, a monster headache.

I imagine the ramifications of cut throat politics perpetrated by the Opposition terrified Government Members of Parliament. So much so, that Finance minister Mark Brown mouthed off “gobble-de–gooks” in reaction and the PM did a u-turn while en route to yet another global “talk-fest.”

No doubt he was absolutely terrified, of becoming yet another Cook Islands PM chucked out into the political waste heap by an internal Government and Parliamentary “coup-de tat”.

The debate has now raged for several weeks now of who is right and who is wrong. It was a hot topic on radio and was covered extensively by television and by the print media.

The debate revolved around questions about Parliamentary Standing Orders, the Cook Islands Constitution, the authority and discretionary powers of the Queen’s Representative Tom Marsters and the options available to the PM and his government.

As far as the Opposition and the learned and knowledgeable John Scott (ex-Clerk of the House) were concerned, His Excellency Tom Marsters, had certainly blighted his record. That was due to some of his actions following the requests made of him in his capacity as Queen’s Representative. But then again, who is to say who is right in this whole saga?

We all know now that the opposition plans to mount a legal challenge to the QR’s refusal to sack the CIP government and install a new one. Or at least for the QR to test the “no confidence in the PM” motion back in a recalled parliament where Demo traitor Albert Nicholas may find himself compromised to be the number 13 for the opposition.

The opposition claims a new PM in the form of Cook Islands Party Atiu MP Rose Brown who was purportedly elected, but the CIP claims her to be still in its camp, meaning it still holds a majority of 13 to 11. And yet some believe the numbers stand at 12-all, thereby creating a hung parliament.

Now, let’s just sit back and consider the scenario of the current government losing out to a coaltion containing the Democratic Party and the One Cook Islands movement with several CIP MPs. What would really happen? What substantive earth-shaking, thunderous and mammoth changes would take place? In other words, would a new government be any different or better than the current lot? Let’s break it down this way. Prancing around on the Monday of the “continued sitting of parliament” (if it was not adjourned properly), was none other than the incorrigible Norman George. That signals instantly a new government with a player boasting bad and incurable political behavioural traits. That certainly would disappoint potential supporters of a new government, because it’s “more of the same.”

And of course the hands and faces of other characters who use unconventional political tactics, some specialising in character assassinations and smearing, could be seen in the background of the new government. By jove, before it begins, the new government has already been hijacked by people with impossible asking prices and of course there are others rushing in to feed at the trough. You see, this is why I hold reservations about any change of government. While I am of the view that this is one of the worst governments that I have come across in terms of its “public accountability,” and its obvious regard of public issues with impunity, I am not sure whether the perceived new government could make a difference so great that the fundamentals where corruption thrives are disposed off.

Would an incoming government have the capacity and ability to do some structural changes? Would it, for example, be able to dispose Mangaia of two constituencies in view of the huge population drop there and the fact that two MP’s there contested within less that 70 electors respectively?

Would it be able to reduce numbers employed by the ballooning public service when in fact, public service jobs is a campaigning must?

I know you people can see what I mean. A change will inevitably result in a bad government being replaced by another bad one, or worse, by an incompetent one - and even worse, by an incompetent one run by rogues.

Of course we all feel that we can do better. Many of us genuinely believe we can do better. It is within our nature to think like that. But I noticed that when it comes to politics and its implications, Cook Islanders are not a very pragmatic people. If fact, the pragmatists like myself are sneered at and are considered disloyal and argumentative when they raise for instance realistic steps to take to alleviate a problem. To my politician mates and gals, I am being the devil’s advocate here. To move forward (as I have discovered in my life’s journey), you must have the guts to question and to decide what is best for our people and your country.

If it means a change of government, then so be it. But please, ask yourselves the question as to how you can make the new government work differently and better than the previous one.
-Written by Cook Islands News Columnist Wilkie Rasmussen

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