A day later, the culture sector and farmers (some, anyway) get a second helping of public funding

 Just a day after announcing financial help for the culture community and for farmers, the Beehive brought news of even more money for those groups.

In the case of the farmers, mind you, the help is focused on just one region.  The Government is investing $844,000 in King Country River Care, a group that helps farmers to lift freshwater quality and farming practice.

This followed the announcement on Wednesday of a $700 million fund that will create jobs in riparian and wetland planting, removing sediments and other initiatives to prevent farm run off entering waterways. The fund is for the primary sector, iwi/Māori, local government and their communities.

The creative sector learned the government has set up a jobseekers programme and four new funds to help the arts and music industry recover from the blow of COVID-19.

This is intended to support thousands of jobs with a $175 million package, a sum described as “a crucial economic boost to support the arts and creative sector”, which contributes nearly $11 billion a year to GDP, employs 90,000 people and supports the wellbeing of communities.

According to the details the government is offering: Continue reading “A day later, the culture sector and farmers (some, anyway) get a second helping of public funding”

Perhaps we need Peters to temper the adulation and prevent the landslide re-election of the Ardern government

Jacinda Ardern and her  government  have  won global admiration  for  vanquishing the coronavirus.  At  home   their ratings   have soared.  Polls  show  more than  80%  of  those  sampled  support  the  way  the government  handled  the  pandemic  crisis.

New Zealanders  accept  without a blink the  virus is  universal  and  ubiquitous, a  threat to all humankind.  They  celebrate  how  as  part  of a team of  5 million   led  by  Ardern   (and Ashley  Bloomfield – whoever thought a public servants would become such a  cult  figure?)  they   repulsed  Covid-19.

There  is  adulation of  the  kindness  and compassion  displayed  by the  Prime Minister.

Other  governments, by  comparison,  have been  condemned for  their  bungling and  incompetence, the failures of   their  public  health systems,  and  death tolls criticised as needless.

Foreign affairs  commentator  Simon Tisdall  in The  Guardian  says  a  new  age of  revolution  is  dawning —  but  just  what  kind of  revolution it  may be    will rest on how the pandemic’s  shock waves and  after-effects are directed  and  shaped. Continue reading “Perhaps we need Peters to temper the adulation and prevent the landslide re-election of the Ardern government”

The Beehive pumps out more millions – some of it for the cultural sector but a bigger lump to clean up waterways

Creative Kiwis and cockies are among the beneficiaries of government decisions announced yesterday.

The creative crowd was given support amounting to $95 million (or so), announced by Prime Minister and Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Jacinda Ardern, who said thousands of artists and creatives at hundreds of cultural and heritage organisations have been given much-needed support to recover from the impact of COVID-19.

“The cultural sector was amongst the worst hit by the global pandemic,” Jacinda Ardern said.

The grand total was not highlighted in the press statement but these numbers help us work it out  –

$25 million for Creative New Zealand

$1.4 million for the Antarctic Heritage Trust

$11.364 million to Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga

$18 million for the Museum of New Zealand Te papa Tongarewa

$2 million for the Museum Hardship Fund to be administered by Te Papa

Services

$31.8 million for Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision (including funding to prevent the loss of the audio and visual collection which is rapidly deteriorating)

$2.03 million for Royal New Zealand Ballet

$4 million for Waitangi National Trust Board Continue reading “The Beehive pumps out more millions – some of it for the cultural sector but a bigger lump to clean up waterways”

Poll finds a growing public appreciation of NZ’s primary exports – and new trade stats underscore their importance

NZ’s  primary  exports  held  up  well  in   April, again proving  the  country’s  farming  industries are  sustaining  the  economy   despite many  sectors being stricken by the  Covid-19  pandemic.

Almost   coincidentally,  a  UMR  probe  of    public  opinion about farming revealed a sharp swing  in  perception.

Instead  of  the  negativity   that had been  undermining  morale – particularly in  the  dairy industry,  triggered  by  anti-farming  lobby groups which conjured  up the slogan “dirty dairying”  to turn urban opinion against the  industry – the  UMR polling  showed  attitudes have tilted deeper into positive  territory.

UMR Research,  a  skilled operator  in  its  field  (better  known as   the  company  which does  polling  for  Labour), found  in  its  sampling   63%  of  those  polled  had a  positive  view  of sheep and beef  farming, a  rise  of  9% compared   with  a  previous  poll on  the same  issue  eight months ago.

Similarly, the perception  about  dairy farming  had  also  strengthened   by  9% , from  51%  to  60%.

Horticulture   has  the  top rating of 65%, while  fishing clicked over  to 53%, up from 47%. Continue reading “Poll finds a growing public appreciation of NZ’s primary exports – and new trade stats underscore their importance”

Nash enthuses at the nearing of a billion-dollar milestone while Peters brings us up to date with a ferry story

Two statements from the Beehive yesterday were enlightening for taxpayers trying to keep tabs on the burgeoning billions being spent on facilitating the economic recovery.

One statement told us how much is being handed out to small businesses.

Correction.  One statement told us how much is being loaned to small businesses:  it’s almost $1 billion in interest-free loans.  “Around” $960 million to be a bit more precise.

The other advised us of progress on the investment in two new Cook Strait ferries.

The relevant figures in the press statement tell us:

The $400 million towards the ferries and KiwiRail’s land-side infrastructure builds on a $35 million investment in last year’s Budget for ferry design and procurement work. It is part of the Government’s overall $4.6 billion-dollar investment in rail.

 The only other announcements from the Beehive Ballyhoo Brigade yesterday advised us that: Continue reading “Nash enthuses at the nearing of a billion-dollar milestone while Peters brings us up to date with a ferry story”

No bull, but much bigger bucks have been budgeted to beat Mycoplasma bovis than for the govt’s Covid vaccine strategy

We’ve heard of people being treated like animals by the governments of some countries.  But two statements from the Beehive yesterday suggest the well-being of beasts – those that contribute to our export receipts, at least  – is much higher in government budget priorities than the well-being of people.

Our evidence?

 Exhibit one:  A statement from Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters, Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods,  and Health Minister David Clark.  They announced a COVID-19 vaccine strategy, which will enable New Zealand scientists to contribute to global research efforts and explore the potential of vaccine manufacturing capability in New Zealand.

Government has allocated $37 million to the strategy.

Exhibit two:  A statement from Agriculture and Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor, who referenced the latest technical data in showing progress on New Zealand’s world-first plan to eradicate the cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis.

He reminded us that two years ago the Government, DairyNZ and Beef + Lamb New Zealand and industry partners made a bold decision to go hard and commit funds to a 10-year programme to eradicate M. bovis to protect our most important sector and the economy.

The sum involved:  $880 million. Continue reading “No bull, but much bigger bucks have been budgeted to beat Mycoplasma bovis than for the govt’s Covid vaccine strategy”

Boris shows some backbone

A lot of people – including quite a few in Britain’s Conservative party – don’t like Dominic Cummings, special adviser to PM Boris Johnson and a key figure in the Vote Leave campaign in the 2016 Brexit referendum and the 2019 Brexit-focused general election.

So there was some undisguised joy when it was suggested that he had – like some other prominent and now departed public figures – broken the lockdown rules, in his case by travelling from London to Durham to ensure emergency childcare. Continue reading “Boris shows some backbone”