Reserve Bank governor Adrian Orr has a lot on his plate at present. He is battling to hose down prices which have been rising faster than they have done for 30 years, while at the same time “maximising” sustainable employment.
It’s a task none of his predecessors had to undertake. Finance Minister Grant Robertson widened his remit to include full employment, but probably didn’t expect the job being put to the test so soon.
And, of course, Robertson’s future as finance minister will hang in the balance, particularly if inflation is still raging when electors go the polls next year.
Ironically, too, it was the government’s decision for the printing of money by the Reserve Bank as the country returned to something like normal after the Covid lockdowns, which stoked the fires of inflation.
Some might see elements of Greek tragedy taking shape. Continue reading “RBNZ governor must curb inflationary pressures while keeping an eye on employment trends”
Buzz from the Beehive
Comings and goings were the common factor in the latest Beehive announcements.
Immigration Minister Michael Wood handled the “inward” movements by regurgitating migrant statistics he presumably wanted to crow about.
The “outward” movements are recorded in three statements – a further deployment of 120 New Zealand Defence Force personnel to the United Kingdom to help train Ukraine soldiers, the naming of a new High Commissioner to Kiribati, and a visit by Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta to Niue and Tonga this week.
Mahuta says her travels are “to engage kanohi ki te kanohi with counterparts”.
We imagine this is a legal form of behaviour among consenting adults and look forward to the television coverage. Continue reading “NZ deploys troops to the UK and despatches Mahuta to the Pacific (but non-Maori speakers may be puzzled about her intentions)”
In the wake of the emotionally draining sagas that have dominated the mainstream media for the past week or so — -first the allegations of bullying within Parliament and by parliamentarians, and then the All Blacks’ triumph and turmoil over the coach’s future employment — can any relief be found?
Is any good news looming for a nation battered by the Covid pandemic and frustrated by a government that makes grand announcements but often fails to deliver?
Well, yes, there is.
Point of Order believes we don’t have to look far. It will come from the business sector which has been beavering away, despite the pressures on staff from Covid and within the supply chain to and from overseas markets.
Some of it is already emerging as the big electricity gentailer, Contact Energy, reported today. Contact did its bit for the country by limiting price increases in the year to 1.2%, announcing a new renewable energy project, and indicating it will be negotiating with Rio Tinto which wants to keep the Tiwai Point aluminium smelter open beyond 2024. (More of what Contact CEO Mike Fuge had to say below). Continue reading “Yes, there is good news for a Covid-weary NZ – and it has started to flow from our energy companies”
The polytechnic sector has been getting a bad press in recent times.
Former Otago Polytechnic chief executive Phil Ker has demanded an apology from Education Minister Chris Hipkins for turning the country’s polytechnic education system into “a national disgrace”.
The Otago Daily Times has described the centralising of New Zealand’s 16 polytechnics into one grand organisation, Te Pukenga, as a “shambles”.
National’s Tertiary Education spokesperson and Invercargill MP Penny Simmonds says polytechnics in the South are being forced to cut millions from their budgets because the Government’s mega-merger polytechnic entity Te Pūkenga is in such a mess,
Among the more disturbing reports, new data shows one-third of first year polytechnic students quit their studies last year and some qualifications were unable to retain any learners at all.
Across the country, 12,642 equivalent full-time students began courses at polytechnics last year, but 4124 – or 32.6% – dropped out , according to the figures released under the Official Information Act.
The 15 polytechnics that make up Te Pūkenga offered a total of 227 qualifications last year, but on 51 courses, at least half of all students quit. Continue reading “Southern polytech gears up for tutoring more students by translating automotive engineering material into te reo”
Buzz from the Beehive
The big announcement from the Beehive so far today is that workers and public transport users are at the heart of a new approach to public transport branded the Sustainable Public Transport Framework.
This is great news, although when you take workers and public transport users out of considerations it is hard to find too many other interested parties, besides politicians and administrators.
Oh, wait. Taxpayers and ratepayers, which accounts for most people, have a stake, too. Their money funds the system and a major change is to allow councils to own and operate services in-house.
Transport Minister Michael Wood said the current model is causing operators to wind back services and timetables, because they can’t get drivers. Continue reading “Govt announces new transport and rental housing initiatives and enthuses about human rights (but without mentioning voting rights)”
The Government’s esteem for science and science-based research findings can be gauged from a press statement released by the Ministry for Primary Industries.
The statement gives a progress report on a New Zealand Forest Services’ partnership with a marae-based tree-growing project and its grant of nearly $500,000 over two years through the One Billion Trees (1BT) programme.
It suggests the money has been well spent because – it transpires – the trees being grown on the marae are out-performing trees grown elsewhere.
This is instructive, pointing to how the Government can pick up the pace in bringing the ambitious One Billion Trees programme to a triumphant conclusion.
No great investment in nutrients or silvicultural expertise is required .
The secret is disclosed in the headline on the press statement reveals the secret: Waiata helping native seedlings to thrive. Continue reading “Getting super growth into those tree seedlings is simple – it can be done for a song (or two) and some nurturing conversation”
Buzz from the Beehive
Some readers might be surprised to learn from Associate Finance Minister David Parker that the law has been changed to ensure forestry conversions by overseas investors benefit New Zealand.
Did the law previously allow forestry conversions by overseas investors that would be to the country’s disadvantage?
Previously, overseas investors wishing to convert land, such as farm land, into forestry were required to meet the “special forestry test.”
Parker described this as a “streamlined” test, designed to encourage investment in production forestry.
The Overseas Investment (Forestry) Amendment Bill – which has just passed its third reading – requires overseas investors to show their conversions will benefit New Zealand by meeting the stricter “benefit to New Zealand test.” Continue reading “Fetters are slapped on “fast-track” law to ensure the country benefits from forestry conversions by foreigners”
Buzz from the Beehive
Tourism Minister Stuart Nash has been busy in the past 24 hours, joining the PM for the opening of a new aquatic centre, enthusing about data from the latest visitor statistics and announcing a new industry strategy.
The Minister for Diversity, Inclusion and Ethnic Communities Priyanca Radhakrishnan was in the business of announcing strategies, too. She welcomed the Ministry for Ethnic Communities’ release of its first strategy, setting out the actions it will take over the next few years to achieve better wellbeing outcomes for ethnic communities.
In the Education domain, Associate Minister Jan Tinetti was chuffed about the success of the programme for providing “free” period products in schools, while fellow Associate Minister Aupito William Sio announced the recipients of the Tulī Takes Flight scholarships. These were a key part of last year’s Dawn Raids apology. Continue reading “Govt has dived into Covid-19 recovery funds to help build aquatic centre that – gosh! – may bring world champs to Hastings”
When a Royal New Zealand Air Force C130 Hercules broke down in Vanuatu this week there was a certain irony in the event. It left Defence Minister Peeni Henare stranded in the Solomon Islands capital, Honiara, where he had been leading a delegation of 30 New Zealanders, including officials from the New Zealand Defence Force and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who were in the country for World War II commemorations.
Henare took over the Defence portfolio after the 2020 election, but so far he has done little to upgrade the rundown state of the country’s defence resources.
Whether his stranding might serve as a wake-up call could be monitored not just by Defence officials but by a wider public becoming alarmed at how defenceless NZ has become, even as threats in the Asia-Pacific region become all too obvious.
This week the ACT party drew attention to how numbers are dropping in the New Zealand Defence Force as personnel are faced with “poor pay, poor dwellings, and poor leadership from the Minister”. Continue reading “ACT goes on attack as Defence Force personnel are found to be sniping at pay, dwellings and leadership”
Buzz from the Beehive
Some ministers commemorated historical events in the latest press statements from the Beehive while others pointed to New Zealand’s role in the space age and to technological developments around the digital economy and data storage in the cloud.
Three statements were related to events in the past – a speech by the PM to mark the 60th Anniversary of the Treaty of Friendship between New Zealand and Samoa, an expression of condolence after the death of the last-surviving Battle for Crete veteran, and the commemoration of the dropping of atomic bombs on the cities of Nagasaki and Hiroshima 77 years ago.
Two statements were focused on technological developments with implications for the future – the welcoming of Google Cloud’s decision to make New Zealand a cloud region and the advising of an agreement signed between the New Zealand and United States governments which opens new opportunities for our space sector and closer collaboration with NASA.
Law and order, broadly, were covered by another three statements. Two of these drew attention to bills that have been enacted, one to combat firearms violence, the other to repeal the ‘Three Strikes’ law. Continue reading “McAnulty mentions the important role played by indigenous people in emergency response and recovery – but USA seems unaware”