Office of the Premier of Niue

Hon. Sir Toke Tufukia Talagi

This website will aim to keep you well informed and up to date with developments from the Office of the Premier where you may also be able to respond by presenting your views
15 October 2018

Title: My thoughts

Audits are done after the budgets and Government work has been completed. They have always been after the fact.  They report on the way funds are received and spent and on compliance and performance.
Auditors are not involved in the Government’s up to date management of the economy or community services, although they can and do ask questions.    Understanding the finer details of our economy can be challenging.

I am very frustrated by the audit process. 4 years late almost means it is irrelevant. But it is important all the same.

We spend a lot of money on audits. It is critically important to the government and our people that our financial reports are credible and compliant and that there is confidence in our governmental processes.

I am also very concerned with the Deputy Auditor General's letter and its content which was sent to the Speaker. I have taken up these concerns with the Auditor-General and asked him to review the position.

​​Climate change
1 October 2018

Title: These are my views and thoughts about climate change currently
The current view is that we continue to seek a principle of reducing harmful gases and prevent warming. The target is set at 1.5%. But very few countries can achieve this certainly the worst and biggest polluters have not made very much headway. In fact many continue to adopt policies which continues to perpetuate fossil fuels unabated.
So we have really made little progress despite the rhetoric. What is being stated now with high sea levels and islands being inundated will come to pass.
In fact any low lying land area all over the world will suffer. Add the impact of droughts floods, fires, more intense and destructive cyclones and were all going to be impacted.
The sea and fish will change because we will continue to add chemicals gas and plastics into the oceans and overfish.
In essence we have far exceeded our environment capacity and destroyed the earth as we know it.
The final factor quoted by some learned person is that the large countries will not feel the impact until it impacts on their GDP and the cost exceed their incomes.
In the small island states half and more of their GDPs will be impacted. Destroying their productive capacity for years.
So what do we suggest?
1. Climate change is a given
2. Mitigating and adapting to climate change is the challenge
3. Each country will have their own unique requirements
4. Funding is critical and must be access able and available quickly in a more timely manner
Corruption should be overcome by using different groups to deliver the projects. Private sector or civil groups known not to be corrupted. Or it could involve a core task force working with local communities. But corruption should not be what decides anything. Outcomes are.
These funds will help strengthen and build structures to withstand cyclones, water preservation and storage conversion kits for brackish water solar power, pumps, seed propagation.
There is a mistaken belief and view that you await a disaster to happen then respond. This is not dissimilar to the many other crisis that occur in any sector.
Many of these have been happening long before a disaster occurs. A disaster just highlights the neglect.
So instead of mitigating and adapting early building strong infrastructure you wait till a country is in its worst state to respond. By which time nothing is normal or works. This is the worst thing to happen.
Then people migrate to get away. To find peace and better lives with strong economy, strong community including health and education.
What would make them stay. Peace, better lives strong community, good education, health.
As can be seen these are complex issues not easily understood or rationalised. But the matrix of matters relating to the impact from climate change is complex. And I haven’t even talked about the science. But science can help and provide catalysts to accelerate the possible solutions.
Others will have their views as well.

Radio Talk

9 May 2018

Title: “Radio Talk” I’ll miss my radio slot this week again. I was beginning to enjoy

I’ll miss my radio slot this week again. I was beginning to enjoy talking to you all. I know I can be boring but I guess it’s better to hear from me and not to hear at all and I do pay BCN (Broadcasting Corporation of Niue) for the hour.

It’s what they refer to as paid broadcasting. Nothing is free even for the premier. Trevor and the board are keeping to their task. Terry Coe I understands wants an hour too but not sure if he wants to pay the $100. I think he thought I was using the service for free.

This week I was going to talk about kaniu and what they decided. They were given the option to pay BCN for the use of the towers. This would assist with ongoing maintenance etc.

They refused and accused the government of bullying. I thought that was really funny because they had been bullying us and lying to us about free internet and poor quality internet for a long time. While making zillions of dollars and hiding it in America and now Sweden I think. It was the only reason why we decided to set up our own internet service. Their service was poor and slow.

We needed to show them we can do our own better, quicker and better quality. We hope it will be more affordable. The key recipients will be the students at the two schools, the medical people and new businesses and current businesses on the island. Internet banking and payments will also be faster and easier

As I told you a few weeks ago we are looking to launch 4G in June It will be much faster.

I’ll tell you about our application for membership in the Asian Development Bank ADB I think this time we should be successful and become the 68th member. I went to Manila to talk with a few influential board members and the president of the bank. They were all very supportive and keen to have us join. So the formalities will take place and barring no major changes we should be voted in.

This is a historical step for Niue. We tried two times before and were unsuccessful both times unfortunately. I hope to report the news to you as soon as we know. I’ll also try to explain what I think the membership means to us.

Waste management is becoming a very real and present concern for us. It’s our environmental capacity to manage the numbers of visitors coming to Niue which is occupying my thoughts at present. How many is the question and how much it will cost to recycle everything.

That’s what Treasury is working on with the others to find the costs and provide a tax regime to help our recycling efforts. This is no longer guess work. We’ll try to see what the actual costs are and use that to decide on a tax regime.

Wayne Harris-Daw and I along with PMCU (Project Management and Coordination Unit) Felicia and Angela, Haden, John Wichman, Peleni and Pats plus Treasury and Minister Hon. Dalton Tagelagi and Associate Minister Mona Ainu’u are working very hard to figure these things out.

I found this fascinating and challenging. The minister for Singapore was also intrigued by this. Our work will be used as part of the visitor tours so they can see where their money is going to.

There was a time when accommodation and other infrastructure were considered more important. As you can see the environment and recycling also play a major part I think we are not always careful about our role in the environment equation. We are the environment as well and we influence what happens more than any other creature in the environment.

When I raised the question about environmental capacity many countries understood what I was referring to and made a point to explain their ideas. But measuring this capacity is not easy since no system has been developed that I’m aware of When I compare this to GDP GDP has an established measuring system well developed I hope that environment capacity will eventually become a normal part of the economic and financial plus community yardstick

I’ll talk about other things later.

Michael Jackson and Huggard Tongatule went to New Caledonia to meet with President Emmanuel Macron of France. The invitation was for me but I had to attend the ADB meetings in Manila.

Oh and the president of the Philippines paid me the courtesy of providing a security detail including everyone of about 30. I was very grateful and impressed.    I thanked his minister and told him to extend my wholehearted appreciation to the president.

He impressed me with his speech because he talked about helping people live better. His toughness on crime and lawlessness is understandable. It is important that lawlessness does not prevent law abiding citizens from doing their jobs

Manila was clean and looked very tidy and there was a large number of building activities going on.

“Build build build” was the thrust of his work
Building better Communities,
Building businesses opportunities
Building infrastructure creating jobs

Man after my own heart.

​We know for example that many are buried in the family plots and have been neglected. We should help the families identify these graves and provide support to tidy them up and place a small plaque plus perhaps an appropriate poppy to symbolise their sacrifice and war contribution.

I am in favour of providing each family a certain amount equally to help them tidy the graves up using a standard boxing to show them all to be seen as being our returned brave soldiers.

Charlie Tohovaka, I’d like to work with your team on this project starting this year in the new financial year by allocating $50,000 of our own funds to assist. Your task Charlie will be to identify the graves, mark them, get the families to tell their stories and we will the tidy the graves up and have a plaque and poppy or some other symbol to mark them.

We will continue to do the same next year with another $50,000 until all graves have been refurbished. Families can contribute labour and other support. If we can make more money we will allocate more but let’s at least start.

God bless us all.
We will never forget.
We will remember them.

Despite numerous requests from them, nothing has been provided by the RSA in any of the countries they had joined. So today I’m a bit sad for this neglect and the attitude of those who asked us to contribute.
In some respects we remember but it is unclear to me why these countries even bother sometimes to come to join us since the neglect continues.

It’s an embarrassment and cynical way to treat so called allies and heroes to us all.

Your Excellency High Commissioner Ardern, you and I have done our best but I don’t believe it is enough or good enough. Individual efforts on your part is clearly very welcome. But you and I know there has been neglect and disconnect when it comes to the allies.
Even in New Zealand when Anzac services are held we are confined to the back as no accounts.

The former High Commissioner Honourable O’Love Jacobsen will tell you how much she fought to be recognised.

It shows not just disrespect but a certain degree of a colonial hangover. I have been amused by the numbers who come here and are not very well off displaying a superior attitude but a pauper by all means.

Anzac Day

25 April 2018

Title: My Views

Ha nei a tautolu kua liliu ke fakamanatu a lautolu ne tukulele atu e tau momoui kehe felakutaki fakamua he lalolagi.

Meā ha lautolu a tau finagalo tukulele. Liuani ai foki e tau fakatufono ha Niue, Niusilani mo Peletania Lahi. Liliu mai moe meā ha lautolu a tau manamanatuaga kua fakamooli ha kua ole mai.

Ti galo noa ha lautolu a tau tukulele moe tau fakauka. To pehe mai e falu he tau motu nakai tatai ha lautolu a tau tukulele ha kua nakai faka pā fana a lautolu. Ti ko lautolu koe tau lepa noa ni lau koloa kehe tau kautau ne fakapā fana mai i mua.

Koe aho nei kua fakamanatu e tautolu oti, koe ha lautolu a tau fakauka moe manako ke lagomatai a Peletania Lahi. Fakamanatu foki e tautolu ha lautolu a tau magafaoa ha ko lautolu foki ne hahamo e kavega lahi nei. Nakai nimo foki ha lautolu a tuaga kehe motu moe onoonoaga he tau kautu he lalolagi.

Pogipogi nei, manatu au ke tala atu e falu manatu fakateaga mo manamanatu a tautolu ki ai. Ha kua kitia e au e nakai fai fakalilifuaga poke lagomatai mai kehe matakau RSA he motu. Aua ni e tau kapisiga tuga e Lilifu Ross Arden mo Margaret Pointer moe ha laua a mahani fakamokoi kua foaki mai e falu a lagomatai mo tohia aki e higoa ha Niu Silani.

Galo moki a Peletania Lahi, nakai ni koe tau mena pihia kae pihia foki e kehe tau fakalatahaaga pehe nei i Niu Silani. Ko tautolu nonofo ki fafo ki tua he tau fakamanatuaga pehe nei. Galo moe nakai onoono mai ke fakakitie e tau foaki he ha tautolu a tau toa toko 150.

Ti pehe mai e Lilifu O’Love Jacobsen, hifo a ia moe tau atu kia lautolu i Ueligitoni ke nofo i mua. Talia e lautolu moe kono. Kae tuga a nei he aho nei, ka lavea ke hau i Niu Silani tomua ke ole ke fai fakamatala foki ti talia e tautolu.

Ka to au poko hai ni ke hifo moe ole ke vagahau poke fakamatala, tetefu mai e tau mata, lue e ulu, mohe pumata. Ole atu au ke lagomatai e RSA ha tautolu. Luelue e tau ulu ono kehe lagi.

Mo ha ia a lautolu. Toka ai ni ma RSA.

Kae poaki atu au kia mutolu pehe, foaki atu he fakatufono $50,000 mo lagomatai ke kumi moe valivali fakamitaki e tau maka tumau he tau toa ha tautolu. Ke maeke ai ia tautolu ke kitia e tau matakavi fonua ne tanu ai a lautolu. To pihia foki he tau kahau a to taute oti ai.

Today, I am reminded of the volunteers who made their sacrifices to the great cause of fighting the enemy in Europe. There were certain elements in both New Zealand and United Kingdom who felt that because they did not fire any guns they were not real soldiers. Some in those countries still feel this way now.

There is a degree of sadness in the manner they have been treated and neglected by the countries who asked. This neglect continues to be an issue which is shown by their lack of any support for the RSA here on the island.

But on reflection, don’t believe that complaining about this state of neglect does anyone any good. We need to do those things we can to help in their recognition here on Niue.

 National War Memorial Grounds, Alofi. Pic: RSA Niue