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The Niue Premier’s Ambition


Investment Not Aid

There is nothing like a visit from our benefactor from the mainland to gel our Premier’s thoughts and to advise his people of his ultimate plans for the island. At the joint press conference, Prime Minister Ardern, having announced a package of close to $6m of assistance to Niue, left it to Premier Talagi to flesh-up on the skeleton – and what a flesh-up it is.

For a start it is no longer aid or budgetary assistance – it is now ‘investment’, investment in the infrastructure, investment in sustainable development, investment in commercial activities and so on. First tangible investment is the government’s continuing quest to reduce the cost of importing fossil fuel in order to generate electricity. A $5m injection from New Zealand into adding more to the existing array of photovoltaic cells could see the island saving as much as $1.5m. It might take a little while to achieve – the target date is 2025 when Niue can expect up to 80% of its electricity requirement will be met from solar power.

Currently the island spends $1m on fuel for the diesel generators, $2m goes to jet fuel and $3m on vehicles. No measure appears to be forthcoming on restricting gas thirsty vehicles coming to the island which could potentially save ~$500k.

Then of course there’s the water. The Premier is looking for more investment to get the bottling of water under way – once he and CEO Wayne Harris-Daw has sorted the small hurdle of water purity. There is a bottling plant installed at the defunct fish processing factory at Amanau but this may not have the capacity particularly when Premier Talagi is expecting anything up to $3m from the sale of water.

The Premier chose to highlight the fact that the old trading departments of government, run by public servants was completely inefficient and made no money at all. This has now changed he said

The premises at Amanau still proudly displaying its former glory as the Fish Processing Plant.

and went on to quote the example of the Broadcasting Corporation which at one time cost the government $.5m. That operation is now totally self-funding; any profit from this would be a bonus he said. That could be a more realistic assessment of the performance of BCN than the several thousand dollars surplus which various officials have quoted previously.

The overall aim, according to the Premier is for Niue to meet the government’s operational costs of $20m to $24m with income derived from its various investments. This he said may take 10 to 12 years but he has every confidence that it can be done.

“I have always been ambitious”, he told the media, “I used to run a business here and my objective was to make a million dollars. That was an ambition I had undertaken”.

The inference is that he has achieved that personal objective and that he will go on to achieve the much bigger goal of $20m to $24m. Only the Premier and his close advisors know the details of how this can be achieved, but it will not be by hocking-off the family jewels.

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  1. A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul – George Bernard Shaw (1944)
    There are several ways to interpret this concept. It means to solve a problem by temporarily creating another problem. It means to steal money from one person to give it to another person. (That another person can be relied on for help such as votes in elections).

    It means to take from one resource to give to another. It means shifting focus from one thing to another. It means servicing a minor expenditure earlier to avoid a great expenditure later. Moving the debt around. It means to break down the left wall to repair the right wall. It means fraud or deception done by shifting obvious things to hide something else. It means dishonest deals where money is always shifted to avoid actual delivery of a payoff. Think of Ponzi schemes which pays quick returns to first contributors using money from following contributors, it’s not profit.

    Think of a shell game where the con artist, hides the little ball inside three coconut shells. He moves the shells around and you need to guess where the ball is, and with sleight of hand he will replace it when time to turn up the shells. Now you see it, now you don’t.

    The Premier’s basic economic model is this. All the above and more.

    Where are the laws that prohibit these types of government abuse? They are still there.
    The Assembly members should be reminded of their Constitutional duties and responsibilities. The Assembly members are silent because they are not being informed properly. They are misinformed, misled and hoodwinked by a sly fox.

    The crown solicitors are not helpful, how can they be, it is controlled by the Premier’s daughter. The treasury is unhelpful, how else can it be, the Premier’s son in law is the Treasury boss.

    The public service commissioners control the Niue Public Service and are Constitutionally independent, free from government control. The current NPS Commissioners are Premier’s hand-picked selection.

    The Premier says, “the old trading departments of government, run by public servants was completely inefficient and made no money at all.” Just how exactly has the inefficiency been addressed? Is there a new organization that now runs those inefficient departments? From all reports, the Niue Public Service continue to run those departments that were taken by the Premier.

    Oh yeah, the coconut shell game. Those forecasts quoting dollars is that little ball under the shell. Econometric regarding GDP growth figures is the sleight of hand. (Gross Domestic Product is measure of economic activity, monetary value of all goods and services)

    Overpricing goods and services is based on money available in the community. Access to customers bank accounts in the joint venture with Kiwibank to know how much money in the community is private and confidential. Private sector company handing out personal loans to gain profit is dubious. Insider information and money laundering usually found in these fertile areas of corruption.

    “I have always been ambitious”, he told the media, “I used to run a business here and my objective was to make a million dollars.” He wears the exploitation of his people as a badge of honour. This is the best example of arrogance and narcissism. He just doesn’t care what you think. He appears to think that he is the only intelligent person in the Assembly, and I’m starting to believe him.

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