The issue of land at Tiavea and the taxing of church Ministers

Dear Editor

Re: Give Tiavea Village a fair go 

This letter is wrong. At the moment, the land is just bush. 

There is little value there at the moment. The land is yet to be built on and used. Only then will the value of the land increase. Not before. 

Why? Because bushland is not worth as much as land with stuff built on it, attracting people to use it. The value increases because of demand for that land goes up. At the moment, the demand is very low - only the govt wants the land. Nobody else. 

If there were 100 other organisations or companies wanting the land, then Ti’avea could afford to charge a higher price, because the demand for that land based on its “potential” is higher. 

Otherwise, if there is only the govt which is wanting the land, then the demand is low and Ti’avea cannot expect to charge top dollar. When the land is improved upon (stuff is built on it), that is when the value increases. This is what those people in Salelologa didn’t understand. The value increases AFTER someone builds something on there. Not before.

The potential of the land is only valued so much. Potential only carries you so far. It is similar to an athlete. A natural talented person without any training 

(a) is worth less than a natural talented person who is trained by the best coaches in the world and plays in a top tier team and who wins several championships (b). The value of (b) is much higher than (a) because (b) is the finished product, (a) is not. To pay top dollar for (a) all because of his “potential” (which may never come to fruition) is ridiculous. 

That is not how it works. The money comes after he becomes the man, not before. At the moment, he is just a boy and only one person is looking to sign him up. If he had 100 people wanting to sign him up, his value for “potential” then goes up and his worth would be valued higher.

This is why I don’t know why Ti’avea are even selling the land. 

They should be leasing it because once the land increases in value, their annual lease payments can also increase if they negotiate the contract properly. Once they sell the land, they no longer own it. Therefore they will no longer benefit from the increase in value when the airport and other businesses establish themselves around the airport. 

They can benefit in other ways of course (their surrounding lands will increase in value because of the airport on this piece of land), but not through the increased value of this airport land.

Now in relation to your editorial titled “Bullying tactics, church, desperation and hypocrites,” the Samoa Observer needs to stop trying to defend faifeau openly flouting the law. They have been given such a long time now to comply but a lot of them are not. 

The law was passed way back in June 2017 from what I remember. However, the churches were given a whole year after that before the ministry started taking action to enforce the law. These faifeau have had such a long time now to register. The issue has not crept up on them from out of nowhere. It has been very well sign-posted all the way through. Yet a lot of them are still refusing to comply. There has been warning after warning after warning after warning. Yet they are still not complying.

Going into bank accounts is how tax departments do it in Australia and New Zealand. Where do you think Samoa got the law from?

Time for the faifeau to leave the money to the church to sort out and they just concentrate on preaching. Only those faifeau who want to make a lot of money will still be holding out and disobeying the law.

I suggest they concentrate on trying to do their bit to bring the domestic violence in the country down. The statistics are appalling and I know very well that too many faifeau are turning a blind eye to the issue because they either a) support the idea of a man hitting his wife because the man is the head of the house and must be obeyed, or b) don’t want to know about the problem.


Petelo Suaniu

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