Thursday, February 19

Rarotonga’s indoor stadium update

Rarotonga’s multi sports complex at Nikao is starting to take shape now. The additional Chinese workmen have arrived as well as a lot more containers of equipment and materials. The site is a hive of activity (weather permitting) every day except Sunday. The work continues after dark some nights.
It certainly isn’t controversial any longer; the Cook Islands government is adept at generating new scandals to occupy the public.
The fuel tank farm purchase is supposedly on hold. Yeah, right! we’ve been told that before and meanwhile cabinet have continued to ask banks about loans and the financial secretary refuses to let anyone see the agreements he signed about it. He claims it’s because of confidentiality but I assume it’s because he’s embarrassed about making such a pig’s ear of the whole thing. Nobody (except government and not even all of them!) can believe they’re planning to shell out five million dollars for something that’s only got a few years to run on the lease. And it looks as though they’ve also committed funds to buy another fuel farm – the airplane jet fuel facility – without even talking to the airlines.
You’d think they had money to burn – my tax money – but somebody must have been doing a bit of adding up and decided that cash might get a bit tight over the next year. So in order to save money the government wants to cut the superannuation rate for public servants.
Public servants were the first to join the super scheme and paid 3% of their salary the first year, 4% the second and 5% from then on. Employers, ie government for public servants, paid the same amount. Most private sector employers are now in the scheme although there were grave doubts about it in the beginning, mainly because nobody in their right minds would have trusted a pack of MPs with a piggy bank let alone the super fund. We were all assured that it was safe from government interference. Now they want to treat the rate like a yoyo to cover their own shortcomings. It’s a disgraceful thing to do to people’s future pensions. Yet another ominous sign that they’re not to be trusted.
Mind you, the so-called opposition is no better. They should be howling in outrage but the only thing that aroused their interest in a recent (and rare) sitting of parliament was the question of VIP parking for MPs at the airport.
Check out the details in Cook Islands News online.