More from the Premier, in his regular stint on the nation’s radio this week :-
Steady as She Goes Type Budget
Don’t expect too many surprises in the forthcoming budget. Has there ever been a time when a Niue government budget has had any surprises? Good news for pensioners – there are not all that many – is that the Premier is still hoping that his government can find a little more in the kitty. Government is aiming to eventually pay all pensioners a $500 allowance each fortnight, but not just yet. This will take time according to the Premier.
Sir Toke is expecting his government to bring down a budget of $24 million with $7 million support from New Zealand and $17 million raised locally.
Premier Talagi has identified the following as his government’s priorities and are looking for potential donors for funding. The development for Sir Robert’s Wharf will include developing the area now occupied by rusting fuel tanks where containers can be stored. A gantry will move the containers from the wharf to the new storage area. Some work will be required at the airport but the Premier gave no details.
He has mentioned on a previous occasion that the runway will need re-sealing. Another area where the government would like some attention is to provide more loan funds for the Niue Development Bank. There is a demand for loans according to the Premier.
Another priority is to provide a better place for the island’s tribal wise-men and wise-women to meet and cogitate on the state of the nation. The old Fale Fono is looking decidedly tired and worn-out. And finally, fashionable or not, Sir Toke has identified waste management as a key focus for his government.
Kudos for One and Brickbats for The Rest
Public servants received some attention from Sir Toke. First, he said that that his expectation is for the State Owned Enterprises to earn more as time goes by.
And if the message has not registered yet, the CEO of the SOEs Wayne Harris-Daw is doing a great job. “He is my right-hand. I don’t know why some people don’t like him and are always putting him down. Some people ask why I have brought in a palagi – I have done so because a job needed doing”, Premier told his listeners.
He then went on to say that public servants should be more mindful in protecting the island’s assets and cited as an example the water supply. Premier said that public servants are paid to do a job here on the island and to do that properly they need to be physically present. He said public servants are not hired so that they can go travelling. “Enough travelling”, he said, “and I’ve advised cabinet that that message should be relayed to their respective departments”.
Premier Talagi ended his session with an appeal to the people that if we are to continue to have a language, there is no one else to help us but ourselves. No one can save the language but the people who were gifted with the language in the first place.