Rate charged per kilowatt hour 2 Operating expenditure per kWh

In document Aid in an island microstate : the case of Niue (Page 188-192)

3. Government subsidy per kWh

lOcents 23cents

14c 40c

non-w age households in M u ta la u have electricity d e b t s v a ry in g from a few do llars to over $200. A b o u t a q u a r t e r of wage households also h av e electricity d e b ts b u t none of t h e salary households.

T a b l e 7 -2 0 : A verage household d o m e s tic electricity c o n s u m p tio n , F e b r u a r y 19831 Electricity usage for February 1983 Salary (n= 22) Wage (n=16) Non-wage (n=16) R a n g e kilowatt hours (kWh) 76 - 127 0 - 8 8 0 - 3 4 cost ($) 17.48 - 29.21 0 - 20.24 0 - 7.85 A v e r a g e kWh 102 55 21 cost ($) 23.46 12.65 4.83

Note: A verage dom estic c o n su m p tio n on Niue in April 1982 was 104 kW h. Sources: Public W orks D e p a r t m e n t R ecords, Alofi S o u th a n d Household Heads.

If aid is designed to im prove th e lot of th e d i s a d v a n t a g e d , then using aid to provide electricity for households in M u t a l a u has failed. R a t h e r th e electricity supply has m a d e th e poorer households relatively d is a d v a n t a g e d . It is not too difficult t h e n to perceive links between increasing in eq u ality , d i s a d v a n t a g e d households and aid schemes.

7.5.3 M e m b e r s h i p i n l o c a l o r g a n i s a t i o n s

T h e m ak e-u p of th e Village Council and o th e r local o rg a n isa tio n s such as the Kofekofe P a r e n t T ea ch ers A ssociation ( P T A ) and local c h u rch groups provide a n o t h e r w indow t h ro u g h which to view social differences in M u t a l a u .

It was th e colonial A d m in is tr a tio n which in itia te d t h e idea of village councils, in 1967. T h e n , as it is now, th e m e m b e rsh ip of th e M u t a l a u Village Council has been

o

d o m i n a t e d by salary earners. A perusal of the C o u n c i l ’s m e m b e rsh ip records for the p a s t ten years revealed t h a t salary ea rn ers have c o n sisten tly com prised a m a jo rity of the m em b ers. In a d d itio n , every C h a i r m a n a n d D e puty C h a i r m a n of th e Council has been a

8. I am indebted to Classen Makaola, Chairman of the Mutalau Village Council in 1983, for his assistance with this topic.

salary ea rner. In 1983, five o u t of six C ouncil m em b ers w ere salary ea rners, a n d the C o u n c il’s clerk w as also a salary earner.

T h e sam e p a t t e r n is e vident in t h e m e m b e r sh ip of t h e P T A an d in th e leadership of local church groups. All six P T A m e m b e r s in 1983 were salary ea rn ers while b o th the SD A an d J\V ch urches in M u t a l a u are led by salary e a rn ers. It has already been noted a b o v e t h a t th e leadership of the M E ch u rch is a lm o st to ta lly d o m in a te d by salary ea rners. T h e local LDS church is th e exception as it is contro lled from Alofi a n d does n o t h ave a recognised local leadership.

C learly it is th e senior public s e r v a n ts w ho are t h e village leaders, b o th in secular as well as religious m a t t e r s . Non-w age w o rk e rs a n d w age ea rn ers do n o t hold any positio n s of a u t h o r i t y which does not a u g u r well for village so lidarity or equality as the likelihood of th eir views being ac te d upon are d im inished. M ost non-w age w orkers hold s u b s e rv ia n t positions in local o rg a n isa tio n s. O ne i n fo rm a n t described th e ir position as akin to being th e ’’in d ia n s” while th e salary ea rn ers are t h e ""chiefs” , b u t th e problem ac co rd in g to my in fo rm a n t is t h a t t h e re are far to o m a n y ’’chiefs” and n o t enough ’’in d ia n s ” .

7.6 A T T IT U D E S A N D A S P IR A T IO N S

P aid em ployees a n d non-w age w orkers view th e ir p ro b lem s and th e fu tu re from different perspectives, b u t from extensive interview s a n d open discussions it was found they possessed com m on a s p ira tio n s an d concerns. T h ese are: ( l ) th e need for more secure paid e m p lo y m e n t, (2) th e need to provide for th e ir c h i l d r e n ’s fu tu re (3) th e need to reduce m ig ratio n and (4) th e need for a m ore e q u ita b le d is trib u tio n of aid. Their a s p i r a ti o n s and concerns can be c o m p ared and c o n t r a s te d w ith the views of Niuean public s e r v a n ts fe atu red in C h a p t e r 5.

7.6.1 S ecu rity o f e m p loy m en t

By Niuean s t a n d a r d s M u t a l a u has a high level of paid e m p lo y m e n t - 43 per cent of its a d u l t p o p u latio n or 52 per ce nt if pensioners are excluded. Villagers, however, w a n t m o re paid e m p lo y m e n t, p a rtic u la rly p e r m a n e n t jobs. T h e c o m m e n ts of one household head typifies the outlook of m any households: ’’ Villagers w a n t first to have m ore [paid] jo b s , a n d second to have p e r m a n e n t |p a id ] jo b s .”

H ouseholds believe t h a t so m any villagers have paid work n o w a d ay s t h a t those villagers w i t h o u t paid work s t a n d out as d isa d v a n ta g e d . T h ey would like to see this s i t u a t io n rectified as soon as possible. M ost i n fo rm a n ts believe th e onus is on their G o v e r n m e n t to provide th e e x t r a jo b s, even if this forces t h e G o v e rn m e n t to increase its

dep e n d en ce on b u d g e ta r y s u p p o r t from New Z ealand. T h e benefits, say m any householders, will o u tw eigh t h e costs. T h e m ain benefit is t h a t everyone ” can be equal a g a in ’’ as opposed t o th e p re sen t s i t u a t io n where som e are more equal t h a n others. Beliefs in e g a lita r ia n ism are s tro n g m o tiv e s as th e c o m m e n t s of a local te a c h e r indicate:

I th in k giving everyone th e ch a n c e to have a paid jo b is b e t t e r t h a n giving only som e people t h a t chance, especially in a sm all place like Niue w here everyone knows everyone else. W h e n only som e people have a ch ance to w ork, because they are w ell-educated, as in M u t a l a u to d a y , then t h e people are divided betw een th o se w ho ’h a v e ’ a n d those w ho ’have n o t ’. B u t if everyone h a s a paid jo b t h e n everyone will be m ore equal (30 y ear old female in fo rm a n t, never e m ig ra te d , M u t a l a u : Ju ly , 1983).

H ouseholds w ere asked which e m p l o y m e n t s t a t u s they preferred if given a choice: p e r m a n e n t salary ea rn er, casual wage e a r n e r or sm allh o ld e r farm er. A lm o st in varia bly, eve ry o n e signified th e ir preference to h a v e a p e r m a n e n t paid job. A m o n g th e reasons given were:

* ” As a p e r m a n e n t sta ff I can earn t h e most m o n e y .” * ” T h e salary w orker has m ore incom e and s t a t u s . ” * ” 1 will have a m o re secure and b e t t e r fu tu re .”

* ” It could m ean I can get a g o v e r n m e n t loan to build a new house.” * ” T h e salary people also get a n n u a l holidays a n d s u p e r a n n u a t i o n . ”

M any households ra n k ed wage e m p lo y m e n t inferior to salary work. Some of the opinions offered were:

* ” T h e r e is no se c u rity .” * ” You earn less m o n e y ” .

* ” It is h a r d e r for a wage e a rn er to get credit a n d loans.” * ” T h e wage e a rn e r is second b e st.”

Several re sp o n d en ts preferred wage work because they believed they h ad g re a te r freedom to w ork for wages when they needed cash and a t o t h e r tim es could m a in ta in th eir g a r d e n s or go fishing. T hey were th erefore not ” tied to a paid j o b ” b u t could exercise freedom of choice.

M o st householders placed th e s t a t u s of sm allh o ld e r fa rm er last in th e ir ra n k in g of o c c u p a tio n choices. A m ong t h e views expressed were:

* ” lt is too h ard a life a n d too low an incom e.”

* ” A p la n te r has to work every d a y , otherw ise his family goes h u n g r y .” * ” T h e r e is no way up for a p l a n t e r . ”

* ” T h e p la n te r c a n ’t c o m p e te a n y m o r e - this is t h e t im e of th e paid worker, th e p l a n t e r ’s d ay s are g one.”

* ” T h e fa rm er is looked dow n upon to d ay as th e lowest person.”

Some householders, n o ta b ly th e y o u n g men and w om en, would not choose any of th e t h re e o ccupations ranked above. T h e y see e m ig ra tio n a n d a factory jo b in A uckland or W ellington as th e only logical choice.

7.6.2 T h e c h ild r e n ’s fu tu r e

In t h e face of lim ited e m p lo y m e n t o p p o r t u n i t ie s in a g r ic u ltu r e , e d u c atio n becomes th e key to th e children s fu tu re . Every household head in M u t a l a u hopes his children will succeed a t High School an d qualify a t least for a g o v e r n m e n t job. T h e c o m m e n t of a sm a llh o ld e r fa rm e r is typical of those expressed:

I w a n t m y sons to sta y a t school as long as th ey can a n d to do well in class because it will help th e m find work when they are older. I d o n ’t w a n t th e m to suffer mv fate as a p la n te r . T h e only way forw ard is t h e good e d u c a tio n and a f te r t h a t t h e good job. T h e n m a y b e they can look a f te r th e ir ” old m a n ” (35 y ea r old m a le in fo rm a n t, never e m ig ra te d , M u t a l a u : M a y , 1983).

In g eneral, salary households have higher e x p e c ta tio n s for th e ir c h ild re n ’s e d u c a t i o n . M a n y are expected to a d v a n c e beyond High School to courses of t e r t i a r y e d u c a t i o n , e ith e r in Niue a t t h e U SP C e n t r e or overseas. T h e 11 M u t a l a u teenagers w ho w ere s t u d y i n g overseas in 1983 all c a m e from salary e a rn in g families. T h e children of sa la r y ho u seh o ld s therefore te n d to be b e t t e r e d u c a te d t h a n o t h e r village children an d to h a v e m ore c h a n ces of m oving in to paid e m p lo y m e n t on leaving school.

F r o m general discussions w ith schoolchildren a t Kofekofe School, m ost exhibit a desire for esc ape and a d v e n tu r e to break th e m o n o to n y of everyday life on the island. A s p i r a ti o n s of becom ing a s t r o n a u t s , airline pilots, d o c to rs, d etec tive s, ” All Blacks” a n d n a v a l c a p ta i n s a re w idespread a m o n g th e boys. T h e girls aspire to becoming nurses,

In document Aid in an island microstate : the case of Niue (Page 188-192)