The current world financial crisis is having a – so far – small effect on life in the Cook Islands although the offshore banking fraternity might not agree.
According to a story in Saturday’s Cook Islands News our two major trading banks, ANZ and Westpac, both Australian entities, are robust, well-capitalised and well regulated. There will probably be a change in interest rates down the line, they say, and if people overseas have to think twice about travelling it will cut the number of tourists. Bad news for hotels, motels, restaurants and many others in the hospitality industry.
It seems strange that US companies lent money to people who couldn't pay it back, causing a global money meltdown but resulting in the US dollar becoming stronger against other currencies (such as the kiwi dollar which is the one that concerns me!) If any Americans have some cash stashed away, under the matress or buried in the back garden perhaps, they should consider a holiday here. With the exchange rate the way it is they'll get a bargain, assuming they can get here since Air New Zealand is axing LA/Rarotonga direct flights.
And one of Cook Islanders’ favourite pastimes is travelling overseas so the sliding kiwi dollar is going to drag holidays down with it, at least for those of us who pay for them ourselves. Politicians and other government employees will no doubt continue to take wing at taxpayers’ expense regardless of exchange rates.
We had our mortgage sales and business meltdowns, some quite spectacular (think PDL and Tepaki), but they're home-grown failures. Can't blame the global situation or acts of God.
Now when it comes to acts of God, the six ekalesia (churches) on Rarotonga have started organising their Gospel Day nuku.
(For a run-down of Gospel Day check this video).
Twenty or so years ago the competition to win the trophy for the best nuku (biblical drama) was cut-throat but nowadays it’s theoretically a more laid back occasion with lots of singing, dancing and dressing up but no trophy at stake. Tell that to Arorangi and Avarua who in recent years have presented full scale Hollywood productions complete with special effects. Great fun.