Thank you to Murray McCully
In our coverage of the 43rd Constitution Celebrations 2017, we wrote of the Premier’s customary message to the people and how he chose to highlight the role that he and former NZ Minister Murray McCully played in changing the method of aid-delivery to the Island. Mr McCully was not present at the Celebrations but he arrived on Tuesday this week for a holiday.
Given his relations with Mr McCully it came as no surprise therefore that Premier Sir Toke lost no time in welcoming him.
On Wednesday evening, the Premier, government leaders and senior government officials were at a special dinner to welcome and to thank Murray McCully for his assistance to Niue during his time as the Minister of Foreign Affairs. And what better venue for the reception than the re-branded Scenic Matavai Resort, current flag-ship of Niue Tourism and a facility where most of the funds ear-marked for tourism development had gone – some $50 million according to Sir Toke. Mr McCully was instrumental in making the funds available under NZ aid.
On Wednesday morning Mr McCully was able to see firsthand the island’s brand new search and rescue vessel when he, accompanied by the Secretary to Government Richard Hipa, was taken on tour of the island’s coast line. The vessel was funded under NZ aid.
Remains to be seen how Sir Toke’s government will get on with the new Minister of Foreign Affairs Rt Hon Winston Peters. Mr Peters has visited the island on several occasions and is generally held in high regard.
Issues of Liquidity
While the island’s wise-people were thanking Mr McCully over dinner and merlot in the posh surroundings of Scenic Matavai Resort, it seems that not is all well with the island’s depository of coins. It is not unusual for our government to find itself in what can loosely be described as a “temporary liquidity situation”. In simple terms, there is insufficient coins coming in to meet such ongoing costs as the public services wages and salaries and so on.
When this happens our top financial wizards are required to find a solution, usually by taking bits and bobs from here and there until the normal revenue streams are back to normal. It seems though that in the current situation the revenue streams that government is banking on have not materialised. But what of the budgetary support that New Zealand provides, would this not assist the liquidity problem? It may help alleviate a little of the problem by providing a little respite but that’s it.
Opposition parliamentarians have said for some time now that government might be over-committing itself but most have dismissed their comments as opposition rhetoric. But if government was relying on its ability to generate income from elsewhere other than the usual taxation and surcharges then it appears that they have been over-optimistic. There has been much attention focused on State-Owned Enterprises; the promise of $1 million for bottled water has not materialised.
Government departments will no doubt be asked to tighten their belts; but the most effective and the most draconian measure is a pay cut for all government workers.
Footnote: 1. The government’s chief financial advisor The Financial Secretary is on extended leave
2. With the Health Department issuing a public notice for almost all villages to boil the water before drinking, it is looking less and less likely for the marketing of Niue bottled water to get out of the ground.