Buzz from the Beehive: While climate change assault is outlined, DoC Minister plants a kauri and Mahuta rocks Belarussia

The big news from the  Beehive in the past day has been the announcement of the Government’s Emissions Reduction Plan to put the country on track to meet its first emissions budget, securing our environment and economy.

More of that in our next post.  For now, suffice to say Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern declared:

“This is a landmark day in our transition to a low emissions future  

“We’ve all seen the recent reports on sea level rise and its impact right here in New Zealand. We cannot leave the issue of climate change until it’s too late to fix.” Continue reading “Buzz from the Beehive: While climate change assault is outlined, DoC Minister plants a kauri and Mahuta rocks Belarussia”

Caucus neophytes may be keeping the govt from knowing what Kiwis in their electorates are wanting

Labour  backbenchers, conscious   that  recent polling shows their  political futures  could be  cut  short,  will  be  looking to  this week’s  budget  to replenish their  party’s  popularity with  handouts  to  swing  votes.

They  could  be  disappointed, if the Budget’s programme does not tackle voters’ concerns.

BNZ  economists  last week  warned  that the  chances of  a  recession  are “increasing  by  the  day”.  Economist  Cameron  Bagrie  says  controlling  government  spending  to  tamp  down the  factors causing high inflation should be  a  priority for  the  government, but  a  big-spending  budget is  already  locked  in.

Meanwhile  investors  in the  local  sharemarket, taking  a gloomy  view  of  NZ’s  economic  prospects,  are  already  reeling  from the  downward  trend  in  the  local indices.  Similarly   the  NZ  dollar  has  dipped  sharply against both  the  greenback   and the  Australian  dollar, as  New Zealand’s  main   export  market in  China suffers  from a severe Covid  lockdown.

This  then  could  be  the  moment for   Finance  Minister   Grant Robertson  to  produce  the  proverbial  from  his  hat.

Certainly   his  opponents have  been  generous  with  their  advice,  urging him to offer  tax  relief  and  in particular  to  reverse the tax  bracket  creep   which  is  adding  to  the  bruising from  the  wage-price  spiral. Continue reading “Caucus neophytes may be keeping the govt from knowing what Kiwis in their electorates are wanting”

Celebrity chef and a chemical company boss – investors choked on the headline outrage during media feeding frenzy

Following up on a daily flow of news about some corporate how’s-your-father that brought the heads of the DGL Group and My Food Bag into a series of articles last week, Point of Order initially was led astray by information on the NZX website.  The company which the NZX records as “DGL” happens to be Delegat Limited, which (its website says) is aiming to be a global Super Premium wine company.

Delegate has invested in state-of-the-art wineries and world class vineyards in the prime grape growing regions of New Zealand and Australia and focuses exclusively on making “the world’s most sought-after Super Premium wines and brands”.

My Food Bag describes itself as an online food delivery business and New Zealand’s longest- standing meal-kit provider, operating in the $37 billion New Zealand retail food sector.

So why aren’t they in bed together?

But no – the corporate contretemps to which we were drawn involves My Food Bag and a chemical company which, although it is named DGL, has been given the code letters DGC for NZX purposes

Having latched on to the DGL which was at the centre of the controversy, Point of Order  checked out the bizarre market consequences of the media’s urge to make a meal of its chief executive’s ill-considered choice of words. Continue reading “Celebrity chef and a chemical company boss – investors choked on the headline outrage during media feeding frenzy”

Buzz from the Beehive: taxpayers to stump up $20m to boost growth of the IT industry (which already outpaces other sectors)

David Farrar, at Kiwiblog, usefully kicked off our coverage of news from the Beehive this week with a post headed Good summary from Joyce.

He was sharing the opinions of Steven Joyce, a former minister of Transport and of Communications and Information Technology, who has written:

There were more datapoints this week suggesting the public of New Zealand and its Government are currently inhabiting different planets.

Going on the statements from the Beehive, ministers are clearly focused on growing the public service, doling out a big climate change slush fund, taking the long handle to the public’s preferred means of getting around, implementing co-governance of public assets, and pouring another massive dollop of borrowed cash into the hungry maw that is their giant new health bureaucracy.

The public, on the other hand, are dealing with a runaway cost of living, shrinking household budgets, rising mortgage rates, diminishing asset values, a surge in aggressive criminal activity, long queues at the local hospital, a declining education sector and the growing realisation that economic activity is being frustrated by an obstructionist political class.

And:

The Prime Minister and the Finance Minister have made it quite clear that it is for everyone else to tighten their belts — not the Government.

One of two new announcements on the Beehive website this morning – a pe-Budget announcement from Digital Economy and Communications Minister David Clark – brings news of more exuberance in the spending department.    

He said Budget 2022 provides “an additional $20 million over four years” towards two key initiatives in the Digital Technologies Industry Transformation Plan (which sounds suspiciously like a programme devised in Stalinist Russia).

The government will support the growth of the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) Community and take ‘New Zealand’s Tech and Innovation Story’, a marketing initiative led by industry in partnership with government, to the world.

Clark said the government has been working with industry on this plan to help our tech companies fulfil their huge potential as generators of high-value jobs and export revenue.

But rather than describe a struggling industry, he said:

“In 2020, the digital technologies sector contributed $7.4 billion to the economy. Since 2015 it has, on average, grown about 77 percent faster than the general economy.”

Seriously – is  the private sector unwilling to invest in a sector recording that  level of growth?

The only other new Beehive announcement when we checked is that Trade and Export Growth Minister Phil Twyford has tested positive for COVID-19 and won’t travel to Timor-Leste today.

Twyford was to represent the Government at the 20th Anniversary of Timor-Leste’s independence and the inauguration of Dr Jose Ramos-Horta as Timor-Leste’s next President.  New Zealand’s ambassador to Timor-Leste, Philip Hewitt, will now represent the New Zealand Government at those events.

Let’s look on the bright side: perhaps this will result in some small savings to the taxpayer.

Latest from the Beehive

15 MAY 2022

Budget 2022 invests in tech sector growth

The Government is investing to support the growth of New Zealand’s digital technologies sector in Budget 2022, guiding the country towards a high-wage, low emissions economy.

14 MAY 2022

Phil Twyford tests positive for COVID-19

Minister of State for Trade and Export Growth, Hon Phil Twyford, has tested positive for COVID-19.

Attention is drawn to the ethnicity of Tauranga’s MPs (Maori) for more than three decades …

We are grateful to David Farrar for drawing attention to something we overlooked in our report yesterday on the Maori Party’s reason(s) for not standing a candidate in the upcoming by election.   On Kiwiblog today, he reports:

So Tauranga is unsafe for Maori!

Stuff reports:

Te Pāti Māori says it considered standing a candidate in the Tauranga by-election, but opted not to over concerns about safety and racism in the region.

Party president Che Wilson said racism and hate speech in Tauranga made it a “safety issue” for the party to participate in the upcoming by-election.

Astonishing that Tauranga is so unsafe for Maori as it has had a Maori MP for 35 of the last 38 years!

While we are on this topic, did any of the nation’s political journalists ask Wilson why the party did not stand a candidate in that seat in the 2020 general election?

Buzz from the Beehive: Kelvin Davis does not mention the $5m cost of handouts (and we wonder what’s “trough” in te reo?)

The Point of Order Trough Monitor almost missed the handout of some $5 million to Māori tribes, the announcement of which was preceded by a press statement headline and 300 words of te reo.

Having found the English text a few paragraphs down in the statement, we were disappointed to find no monetary measure of the government’s generosity to the chosen tribes.   But who got how much can be found on the website of the Office for Māori Crown Relations,  an agency which – if ACT was to call the shots after the next election – would be abolished. 

That promise triggered Māori Development Minister Willie Jackson to demonstrate what he learned in Charm School by saying of ACT leader David Seymour: 

“It’s not about him being a useless Māori, it’s about him being a dangerous politician actually.”  

Kelvin Davis said the funding he was announcing was available for iwi Māori to develop resources and host events that focus on building greater awareness of te kāhui o Matariki. 

He might have started by explaining in the English-language bit of his press statement what “te kāhui o Matariki” means. He might also explain if funding is available for (a) non-iwi Māori and/or (b) Kiwis embraced by the “Crown” part of the Office for Māori Crown Relations,

The Matariki Ahunga Nui fund is the name  of this trough, by the way. It supports Māori-led kaupapa or initiatives celebrating mātauranga or knowledge about te kāhui o Matariki.

The Minister for Youth, Priyanca Radhakrishnan, was not so coy when it came to talking money.

She burst into life with her first press statement since March 25 to announce a $15 million boost over four years for youth development services, to be included in Budget 2022.

Transport Minister Michael Wood tossed a few million dollars into his press statement, too, when he welcomed the opening of the tender processes for Auckland Light Rail and the Additional Waitematā Harbour Connections project.

“We have seen just this week Auckland Airport announcing a $300 million-plus Transport Hub development, which will specifically cater for future mass rapid transit to the airport. By pushing ahead with this project, we are giving certainty to business to make important commercial decisions now, to plan around critical infrastructure.”

And:

“The Government’s investment in regional infrastructure is also continuing to deliver results with today’s opening of the Kawakawa roundabout, marking the official completion of $21.5 million in state highway improvements for Northland.”

Latest from the Beehive

14 MAY 2022

Prime Minister tests positive for COVID-19

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has tested positive for COVID-19. She has been in isolation since Sunday 8 May when her partner Clarke Gayford tested positive.

13 MAY 2022

Budget 2022: Supporting our young people to thrive

Young people in Aotearoa New Zealand will be better supported with increased investment from Budget 2022.

Minister Phil Twyford to travel to Timor-Leste

Minister of State for Trade and Export Growth, Hon Phil Twyford, will represent the New Zealand Government at the commemoration of the 20th Anniversary of Timor-Leste’s independence, and the inauguration of Dr Jose Ramos-Horta as Timor-Leste’s next President.

Kua pānuihia ngā kaupapa mō Matariki Ahunga Nui

Kua pānuihia ngā kaitono i angitu ā rātou tono pūtea hei tautoko i te iwi Māori ki te whakaora mai anō, ki te whakatinana anō i ngā mātauranga mō Matariki o te hau kāinga.

Key milestones reached on vital transport projects

Minister of Transport Michael Wood has welcomed the opening of the tender processes for Auckland Light Rail and the Additional Waitematā Harbour Connections project… 

 

 

Māori Party by-passes by-election in Tauranga (where it won 0.35% of the 2020 party vote) but scores well with “racism” headlines

The Māori Party could be sure it would generate emotive headlines when it announced it won’t stand a candidate at the Tauranga by-election “on the basis of a safety issue”.

It claimed the party’s co-leaders have received threats and hate speech from residents there.

Stuff ran the news under the headline Racism in Tauranga makes it ‘unsafe’ to enter by-election, Māori Party says.

The by-election, forced by the resignation of National MP Simon Bridges (who is Māori), will take place on June 18.

The candidates confirmed so far include National’s Sam Uffindell, Labour’s Jan Tinetti and ACT’s Cameron Luxton.

Reporting on the Māori Party’s announcement, Newshub said:

Wilson mentioned a Department of Internal Affairs report published in April which showed “hate speech from white supremacists on social media is the largest form of hate speech in this country”.

He said Tauranga is a “hotspot”, with residents being “subjected to white supremacist leaftlet drops“.

The report referenced by Wilson makes no mention of Tauranga. Continue reading “Māori Party by-passes by-election in Tauranga (where it won 0.35% of the 2020 party vote) but scores well with “racism” headlines”

Buzz from the Beehive: O’Connor should win farmer plaudits for action against Canada but lose them for new high-country law

Our ministers have been variously focused on issues involving New Zealand’s foreign relationships – a rebuke for Russia, Covid vaccines for poorer countries and the pursuit of a trade dispute with Canada – and the regulation of activities in space.

Coming back to earth in the high country, legislation has been passed to overhaul the management of 1.2 million hectares of Crown pastoral land.

On the Covid front, the government is providing an updated My Vaccine Pass from 24 May, has  released data on Government funding dished out to support organisations, jobs and livelihoods in the arts and culture sector, and is updating its Care in the Community response as the number of households needing support to safely self-isolate with COVID-19 reduces.

As Land Information Minister, Damien O’Connor can expect criticism  from high country farmers after the Crown Pastoral Land Reform Bill passed its third reading (visit the Parliament website).

The Nats say they will repeal the changes effected by the new law in its next term of government, maintaining they effectively end a decades-old relationship between the Crown and high country pastoral leaseholders.

Leaseholders who have been effective custodians of this land for generations will be subjected to a punitive regime devoid of any knowledge of practical implementation, the Nats say.  Environmental outcomes worsen rather than improve.

As Trade and Export Growth Minister, on the other hand, O’Connor is behind New Zealand’s initiation of dispute settlement proceedings against Canada regarding its implementation of dairy tariff rate quotas (TRQs) under the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

New Zealand considers Canada’s dairy TRQs to be inconsistent with its obligations under CPTPP, impeding New Zealand exporters from fully benefiting from the market access that was negotiated under the agreement.

Latest from the Beehive

13 MAY 2022

Aotearoa New Zealand provides further funding for global COVID-19 response

Aotearoa New Zealand is providing more funding to the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator for global efforts to respond to the pandemic.

Updated My Vaccine Pass for those who want it

New Zealanders who are up-to-date with their COVID-19 vaccinations will be able to download an updated My Vaccine Pass from 24 May.

Crown Pastoral Land Reform Bill passes third reading

New legislation to modernise the management of 1.2 million hectares of Crown pastoral land primarily in the South Island high country was passed in Parliament today.

Aotearoa New Zealand condemns Russia’s malicious cyber activity against Ukraine

Aotearoa New Zealand strongly condemns the campaign of destructive cyber activity by Russia against Ukraine, alongside the EU and international partners, Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced today.

Next steps signalled for space activity laws

The Government has released a review of the operation and effectiveness of the law controlling commercial space activities, and signalled a separate study on wider issues of space policy will begin later this year.

New Zealand initiates dispute settlement proceedings against Canada’s implementation of dairy quotas under CPTPP

New Zealand has initiated dispute settlement proceedings against Canada regarding its implementation of dairy tariff rate quotas (TRQs) under the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

Care in the Community pivots as NZ returns to greater normality

The Government is updating its Care in the Community (CiC) response as the number of households needing support to safely self-isolate with COVID-19 reduces.

Government’s support delivers path to recovery for arts and culture sector

The Government has today released data for three key Government support funds which were designed to support organisations, jobs and peoples livelihoods in the arts and culture sector.

The weight of numbers (and opinions) on the bench in Roe v Wade is instructive when we consider the meaning of “treaty partnership”

The way in which judges can grant rights – or remove them – has been glaringly illuminated by the leaked draft opinion of the United States Supreme Court that strikes down Roe v Wade.

A spokesperson for the Abortion Law Reform Association of New Zealand said the ruling was a stark reminder that women’s rights – and reproductive rights more broadly – were “vulnerable to erosion”.

True.  Or, on another day in another court, those rights might be expanded.

Roe v Wade had been a landmark decision in 1973, when the US Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution of the United States protects a pregnant woman’s liberty to choose to have an abortion without excessive government restriction.

As Wikipedia notes, this decision struck down many US federal and state abortion laws and fuelled an ongoing abortion debate in the United States about whether or to what extent abortion should be legal, who should decide the legality of abortion, and what the role of moral and religious views in the political sphere should be.

Critics of the ruling also contended it was an example of judicial activism Continue reading “The weight of numbers (and opinions) on the bench in Roe v Wade is instructive when we consider the meaning of “treaty partnership””

Buzz from the Beehive: pre-Budget speeches, a border re-opening and a black mark for new Green List

Pre-budget speeches from the PM and her Minister of Finance feature in the latest posts on the Beehive website.  Both speeches mention  the re-opening (hurrah) of the country’s borders.

The re-opening was the highlight of a package of initiatives announced in a press statement in the names of four ministers, Jacinda Ardern (PM), Chris Hipkins (Education), Stuart Nash (Tourism) and Kris Faafoi (Immigration).

“New Zealand is in demand and now fully open for business,” Jacinda Ardern said.

“New Zealand’s international border will reopen to all tourists and visa holders two months earlier than planned on 31 July.”

The package included significantly simplified immigration processes intended to provide faster processing for businesses and a new “Green List” that includes over 85 hard-to-fill roles created to attract and retain high-skilled workers to fill skill shortages.  

Hipkins got a second lick at the border-re-opening with an announcement that international students are welcome back – from July 31 – and the Government is committed to help reinvigorate and strengthen the sector.

This statement further advised that Hipkins will travel to the USA, Chile and Brazil to promote studying here.

In his speech to the Wellington Chamber of Commerce today, Finance Minister Grant Robertson spoke of “our immigration rebalance” and border reopening

“… in a way that embodies our objectives as a Government. A green list will provide a streamlined pathway to residency for workers with skills that are in high demand. This approach will enable us to support the development of high-value industries and to alleviate some of the supply constraints that are present in areas such as construction.”

But the green list has earned the government a black mark from nurses and midwives and sparked an accusation of sexism: 

Nurses and midwives say an immigration shake-up privileges male dominated professions, is “sexist”, and will do little to help fill hundreds of vacancies in New Zealand.

It’s a completely sexist model, all the doctors are in the privileged group,” hospital midwives union co-leader Jill Ovens said.

Latest from the Beehive

12 MAY 2022

New Zealand poised to welcome international students back

New Zealand is fully reopening to international students and the Government is committed to help reinvigorate and strengthen the sector, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today.

Speech

Pre-Budget Speech to the Wellington Chamber of Commerce

I want to start by thanking our hosts the Wellington Chamber of Commerce who graciously do this every year as we lead into the Budget.

11 MAY 2022

Lower card fees on way for business, consumers

A Bill to help lower the fees charged when credit and debit transactions are made, will save New Zealand businesses around $74 million a year.

Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa Tāmaki nui-ā-Rua Claims Settlement Bill passes first reading – Kua hipa te Pire Whakataunga Kokoraho mō Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa Tāmaki nui-ā-Rua i te pānuitanga tuatahi

I te whare pāremata ngā uri o Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa Tāmaki nui-ā-Rua i tēnei rā kia kite, kia rongo hoki rātou i te hipanga o te pānuitanga tuatahi o te Pire Whakataunga Kokoraho mō Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa Tāmaki nui-ā-Rua.

Poroporoaki: Harerangi Meihana (Harry Mason)

Kua hinga ngā kapua pōuri i runga i Taranaki maunga. Kua wehe atu rā te Tumuaki o te Hāhi Ratana, arā ko matua Harerangi Meihana.

Speech

PM Pre-Budget Speech to Business New Zealand

Thank you to Business New Zealand and Fujitsu for hosting us here today, and I am grateful to be joined by Minister Faafoi, and Minister Hipkins.

Fully open border and immigration changes speed up economic growth

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern today announced a major package of reforms, which include an early opening of New Zealand’s border and a simplification of immigration settings, to address the immediate skill shortages in New Zealand and speed up the economic recovery from COVID-19.