Premier to attend APEC Summit
Premier Sir Toke Talagi has left the island to attend the APEC summit in Port Moresby PNG. He is accompanied by the Director of Transport Sonya Talagi and his PA Pats Sionetuato. Leaders from all Forum Island countries will meet with APEC leaders during the summit. No information has been released on what issues if any Premier Talagi will be raising.
APEC – Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, with its secretariat based in Singapore, is an inter-governmental organisation concerned with trade and economic issues. It has 21 member countries, more or less located around the Pacific Rim.
Australian media say that the Australian taxpayers are picking up a substantial slice of the total cost for the meeting in an effort to stymie any largesse from China. In recent years China has made in-roads in Melanesia in what political commentators see as a threat to Australia’s influence. Just ahead of the APEC summit Prime Minister Scott Morrison has outlined his country’s assistance to the region with a major policy statement.
Fale Fono sources say that while in Auckland Premier Talagi will complete arrangements with Samoa, Cook Islands and Tahiti which will pave the way for work to begin on the marine cable known as the Manatua cable linking the three Polynesian countries to the rest of the world. The Cook Islands Chamber of Commerce had expressed reservations on intended configuration of the cable but it appears that the consortium is proceeding as originally planned. Here’s an extract from our earlier report:
The planned configuration for the Manatua cable is for it to run from Samoa to French Polynesia with spurs to Niue, Rarotonga, Aitutaki and Bora Bora. To connect to a main supply cable, Samoa will run a cable, the Tui Samoa Cable from Apia to Fiji where it will connect to the Southern Cross cable that runs from the US to Sydney.
CICoC says a better option would be to connect the Manatua cable to the newly commissioned Hawaiki cable running from the US to Auckland and Sydney. It is understood that the Government of American Samoa had invited the Manatua consortium to follow its lead and become part of or to connect to the Hawaiki cable.
Premier Talagi will return to the island in three weeks time. Acting Premier is Hon Dalton Tagelagi.
Wharf make-over done
It took a little longer than anticipated but the work in patching up the island’s wharf has now been completed. The work which was funded under NZ assistance was part of a programme to ensure the security of the island’s strategic assets; the wharf is considered vital to the island’s existence.
Most of the work involved strengthening with poured concrete the western side of the wharf facing the open sea. Wave action had, over many years, opened up cavities where the concrete was keyed into the reef.
Before leaving the island site foreman Soren Nielsen and his small team from Bay Underwater Services in Mt Maunganui were able to attend a couple of social events where locals were able to thank them for their services.
Drinkers Golden Mile
A section of Porritt Drive, the main road that runs past the airport, will soon have another liquor outlet bringing the total to seven making it something of a drinkers golden mile.
Travelling from the Alofi end going towards the airport, the first in the queue is R-Linnas Licensed restaurant and bar. They have no set hours but is known for their great catering for special events.
Some fifty metres further on is Okakoa – probably the first liquor outlet that only sells but does not provide for on-site drinkers.
Another 50 metres on but on the opposite side of the road is the new government bond store, a marked improvement from the old dingy premises. Right next to the main bond store is an appendage to the State-Owned liquor outlet – the planned Wine Bar.
It must be still in the planning stages as there is no sign of life there yet. Within spitting distance of the government businesses is a new cocktail bar All Relativf.
On the same side of the road and within throwing distance is Niue Lawn Bowls. Another 100 metres or so further on is the oldest of all such establishments, the Niue Golf Club.
While at one time, the rules regarding Clubs were somewhat draconian these have now been relaxed to the extent that it is unlikely that a visitor will be turned away from the bar of both establishments.
It’s a far cry from the days when a liquor permit was required to buy alcohol from the government bond store. To acquire a permit the applicant would apply to the Liquor Board who will decide on whether to grant one and how much you can legally buy. Depending on your income and your number of dependants – this information was readily available – you will be allocated so many points. Twelve points can get you a carton of 24 cans of beer or one bottle of spirits. Most permits were granted to men with a mere handful going to women. One noticeable effect of this limited supply was the absence of the all-week-end-binge; once your allocated supply was exhausted, that was it, unless you manufactured your own.
Footnote: Once alcohol became freely available, the so called ‘bush beer’ brewers disappeared almost overnight and with it, cheap labour to grow vegetables at the Prison Farm. The brewing of bush beer and consumption were both offences under the law. Amongst the brewers themselves, doing time for brewing illicit alcohol was almost a badge of honour to be worn with pride. As to the quality of the brew, a clear brew, showing no cloudiness was considered to be the best but this was the exception. In most cases, brewers could not afford the luxury of letting a brew mature and the sediment to settle. In order to avoid a visit from the Village Constable, a batch or perhaps more accurately an earthen-jar had to be brewed and consumed as quickly as possible.