Tumunu - Bulletin Board of the Cook Islands

Last update: June 26 2016
This is a free, moderated service for Cook Islanders or others to post notices and to discuss subjects of relevance to the Cook Islands. Publication is at the whim and prejudices of the Brewmaster. Maori must be accompanied by an English translation. On any contentious or personal matter you will need to include your e-mail address. No messages will be published if received in capitals only or in lower case letters only or in abbreviated 'text speak'. Material will be edited if overlong, ungrammatical or boring. Postings will be kept until deemed no longer current (usually 30 days). E-mail

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Brewmaster: Please note that we will not publish messages which are not punctuated or those written in 'stream-of-consciousness' style with phrases separated only by a series of full stops. They take too much time to sub-edit and render into English. Also, note the guidelines above concerning Maori and capital letters.

June 26 2016
Disappointing but not unexppected to see that the Playboy of the Pacific (our PM) has survived yet another attempt to displace him and to curtail his jaunting around the world at our expense. Oh well, c'est la view. Maybe it will finally end at the next election. Roll on! Kuki Boy.

June 14 2016
What? You mean you don't know how to do your own dentistry? Looks like back to school for you then, unless you'd prefer to just learn about it yourself at home, maybe using the internet. If you're using the internet - which obviously you are - then you're already doing the kind of home education of which I speak, but you are not necessarily maximising its educational potential because you think you need to pay someone $2000 per semester to give you a recommended reading list. This website is a great Cook Islands school, with a great reading list. I recommend adding to that list: (i) The Explorers of The Pacific, by Geoffrey Badger, and (ii) The Habitations of Man In All Ages, by Viollet-Le-Duc. Paul Case.

June 10 2016
How does the home-taught child get along when he has to have dental surgery or an operation? Will the father of the family just read up on how to do it to save using a professional? What utter tripe! Ben T.

June 10 2016
To Ben's point, what becomes of the children who live with parents who don't have the ability to acquire the requisite skills to teach, for example, basic grammar skills or basic maths? Perhaps the public schools do indeed serve an important role in ensuring opportunity for literacy for all? Steven Kurker.

June 9 2016
Definitely weird, which is why it would work better than 'western' industrialised methods. TEACH PARENTS TO TEACH THEIR OWN. It's cheaper, yet has wider, deeper and more sustainable social impact. It raises the educational standards of everyone at the same time, rather than stealing children and alienating them from their own families. Alcohol abuse is a separate problem, which is easily solved by making this poison illegal (except by medical prescription), but people with vested interests always oppose this obviously simple solution. Wise Australian Aboriginal communities have already proven this to be true. It can be managed more effectively than infamous US 'prohibition' era. As for land rights, 'freehold title' is effectively a 'perpetual lease'. It may be more straightforward for CI to institute a PERPETUAL LEASE option, rather than a complicated freehold system (even my suggestion was quite complicated). In any case, they don't want to end up with an even more complicated dual system like Fiji is stuck with. Paul Case.

June 9 2016
Ben, you are overly harsh. Home schooling done properly coupled with selective social interaction can well produce a better adult than public schools. The key determinant is the parent's level of commitment, knowledge, skills, and abilities in traditional school subject matter and social development tactics. What is your need to insult Mr Case's thoughts and ideas based upon, in truth? If everything is wrong, Ben, what is right? How can there be wrong if you see no right? 'There's battle lines being drawn Nobody's right if everybody's wrong. Young people speaking their minds. Getting so much resistance from behind.' (Buffalo Springfield) Stop, Ben, here that sound. Steve Kurker.

June 8 2016
Yes, fascinating all right! Heavily weird though. Can you imagine the Cook Islands with every home a school with father as a principal. I suppose he could fit it in with sitting out in tha garage on top of a huge pile of Steinlager cartons. With nobody able to read though it would be difficult to keep up with the Cook Islands News and difficult to fill in the voting paper. Ben T.

June 8 2016
You have a fascinating perspective, Mr. Case. Wonderful ways of thinking. Steve Kurker.

June 7 2016
Road accidents are prevented by building better education (licensing), roads and vehicles; not hospitals. Industrial hospitals are often epicentres of illness, instead of houses of healing. The CI locals deserve better: EVERY HOUSE A HOSPICE with clean energy, food (includes water), clothing and shelter. And information. They don't need industrial 'schools' either. EVERY HOME A SCHOOL with father as principal, mother as teacher, and the house equipped with its own education technology, which includes information and communication. They don't need industrial 'sport' either. Real adventure is at their doorstep and in their blood, and is a major reason why foreign tourists are attracted to their environment. Why downgrade to animistic gladiatorial pyramid building? EXPLORE AND ENJOY ECOLOGY, not compel combatant conflict. Prevention is better than cure, and more affordable, and promotes a better quality of life for the whole of society, rather than a mere mechanical quantity of life for a few colonial 'retirees', or reckless tourists. Paul Case.

June 6 2016
I like your ideas Paul. However, CI's medical infrastructure needs exceed first aid. The hospital needs state-of-the-art equipment and medical specialists so that say, for example, a person is brought in after a road accident; that person has just as much chance of survival as a person who happened to have had a road accident in New Zealand or the USA. The medical referral to New Zealand system is well intended but some say favoritism and nepotism too often play a role in the referral decision-making process and that, in the case of traumatic injury or sudden onset of life threatening disease, the referral is too often too little too late. I say bring in wealthy foreign retirees, tax them on worldwide incomes exceeding 100,000 NZD, and use the income tax revenue plus whatever VAT collection increases that result to improve the medical infrastructure; both for the benefit of the wealthy foreigners and the locals. Medical justice for all! Steve Kurker.

June 6 2016
I respect the need to protect CI from unscrupulous property traders because they destabilise the economy. But, it appears quite offensive to NZ that reciprocal rights are not granted within the 'special relationship'. I agree that marriage should NOT automatically qualify a person for land rights because that would create a FALSE incentive to marry, which is already a great curse upon the 'western' world. Dual-citizenship is NOT a suitable solution either. The injustice in CI seems to be that CIs are effectively NZ citizens, but NZs are not CI citizens. In Australia, this would be something like saying that people from the ACT have rights throughout the country, but people from other states have no rights in ACT. Given that CI authorities supposedly want to encourage their people to return to CI, I think CI needs to grant reciprocal rights.
The land control problem must be managed differently. For example, CI Government could legislate that NOBODY owns land (apparently there are already internal difficulties anyway), and that ALL people use the same lease system. However, land values are very difficult to calculate and compare using the lease system, and high value developments become too risky even for locals. Within a nationwide freehold system, property-trading could be controlled by: (i) allowing only ONE freehold title per natural person; (ii) preventing local companies from property trading activity; (iii) requiring foreign companies to lease from a local owner; (iv) requiring all companies to have a clearly stated purpose for the land which must be adhered to under threat of compulsory re-acquisition by the government land trust; (v) failed company asset liquidation includes compulsory acquisition by the government land trust. Transition to a freehold system in CI would require granting of titles to all existing residents.
I also believe that all nations should grant a 'birth bond' to every native-born citizen, which matures at national average market value when aged 20, for the sole purpose of acquiring a title to a residential property within the nation (no cash transacted). Education systems would thus need to be targetted towards empowering the child to know how to manage that right-of-passage entrance to 'adult' life. Physical and mental health are most effectively achieved by providing every person with clean food, clothing and shelter, and the knowledge/skills to maintain these, rather than remedial 'welfare' or 'medical' services. The highest value medical remediation is 1st Aid, which can be taught to every citizen quite easily and affordably. 'Witch doctors' (western or eastern) are as much or more of a threat to any nation as predatory property traders. Contraversially, I also believe in male (not female) property ownership. Unlike NZ, CIs may be sympathetic to this additional condition, but this is a separate anthropology discussion. Paul Case.

June 1 2016
No, Paul, it's a one-way street. Kiwis are not automatically granted CI residency, there is a 10 year waiting period. Even Kiwis who marry CI women are not automatically granted residency. No foreigner is allowed to own land in CI, not even big brother Kiwis. I think all that has to change such that Kiwis and other foreigners, particularly retirees, can live permanently in the CI without going through a major waiting period with no certainty of a successful petition. This is how the CI could raise revenues needed to improve infrastructure, particularly medical infrastructure. The CI does not have budget needed to provide 1st class medical care yet its people really need and deserve 1st class medical care. The English set up the land ownership laws to protect CI folks from being taken advantage of by unscrupulous traders, etc. Foreigners are eligible for long-term leases, 60 years, for example, and there is one Kiwi lawyer living there who collected quite a bit of leased CI lands in exchange for legal services and got quite wealthy using lands to start and run businesses. Did the CI economy real good in fact. Nowadays, foreigners have to jump through hoops to start businesses on leased lands through an application process. CI needs too lessen restrictions in some areas to bring in much needed capital and tax revenue from foreigners. Steve Kurker.

June 1 2016
Are NZers (kiwis) given reciprocal rights to travel, work, live and own land in the Cook Islands, in the same way that CIs are allowed to go to NZ? Paul Case.

May 30 2016
The 'special relationship' between CI & NZ might best be likened to federated states of Australia or USA, or EU memeber states, such that CI is effectively a subject state of NZ, except that CI has the unique right of exit to form its own sovereign state without threat of punitive action by NZ. It makes perfect sense that a USA pensioner, or any other nation except NZ, would pay tax in CI because your USA pension accrues from your lifetime of service to the USA regardless of which USA state/s you lived in. Cook Islands are effectively a state of NZ, so CI & NZ citizens have privileges that other nationalities don't have. Fair enough. As to the practice of charging income tax at all, in any nation, that is a matter which each country determines by its own understanding of economics. Personally, I believe that the only tax in any country should be what I call 'Currency Tax'; that is, a tax on using the state currency to procure goods & services. In Australia we call it GST (goods & services tax), but we also have an insane plethora of other taxes which incapacitates the national economy in an endless knot of confusion. NZ is similar. Europeans and others call it VAT (value added tax). But, most nations have a complicated blend of income tax, corporate tax and currency tax (GST/VAT). I believe in eliminating all forms of tax except currency tax (GST/VAT), but that all people (including pensioners) and companies would be required to pay that tax on all purchases with NO expemptions, deductions or rebates for any purpose; including so-called "Not-For-Profit" NGOs; including LAND. I've proposed my taxation idea Ęto my government, but this behemoth is too massive for such radical changes. However, Cook Islands might be more able to implement this type of 'currency tax' only policy due to its smaller size. Paul Case.

May 30 2016
I'm not absolutely sure about this but it's probably because Cook Islanders are automatically citizens of New Zealand and can move back and forth with no hindrance unlike Samoans, Tongans etc. There is/was also a problem with Cook Islanders who had moved to New Zealand many years ago and wanted to go back to the islands and still get their NZ pensions. Ben T.

May 28 2016
I don't understand why the Cook Islands makes retirees with US pensions pay income taxes whilst New Zealand does not. Some people like me want to come live in the Cook Islands and spend our money there but are discouraged by the tax situation. Steven Kurker.

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Revised: June 26 2016
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