Kelvin Davis appoints a team of four (with no places for Pakeha) to advise him on Orangi Tamariki and child welfare

After a raft of inquiries delving into and recommending what should be done about the politically beleaguered Orangi Tamariki, along with the briefing papers we suppose he has been given, we imagined Children’s Minister Kelvin Davis would have no more need for expert advice.    

Wrong.  He has just appointed “a skilled and experienced group of people” as the newly established Oranga Tamariki Ministerial Advisory Board.

The group (an  all-Maori team) will begin work on 1 February and Davis expects an initial report (to add to the advice provided by the other reports) by 30 June.  

The board’s appointment was one of three fresh announcements from the Beehive.

The others were 

  • Work begins today at Wainuiomata High School to ensure buildings and teaching spaces are fit for purpose; and 
  • The green light for New Zealand’s first COVID-19 vaccine could be granted in just over a week.  

Continue reading “Kelvin Davis appoints a team of four (with no places for Pakeha) to advise him on Orangi Tamariki and child welfare”

The political payoff is plain but is it smart to borrow $219,512 per job (mostly temporary) to spruce up the Murihiku Marae?

The Point of Order Trough Monitor was triggered today by the announcement of a $9 million handout for Southlanders – sorry, some Southlanders.

The news came from the office of Grant Robertson who, as Minister of Finance, prefers to invest public money rather than give it away – especially when it is borrowed money which taxpayers eventually will be called on to repay.

Accordingly, wearing his “Infrastructure Minister” hat and in the company of Te Tai Tonga MP Rino Tirikatane, Robertson announced the Government is investing $9 million “to upgrade a significant community facility in Invercargill, creating economic stimulus and jobs”.

The only other news from the Beehive came from ACC Minister Carmel Sepuloni, who announced the appointments of three new members to join the Board of ACC on 1 February.

“All three bring diverse skills and experience to provide strong governance oversight to lead the direction of ACC” said Hon Carmel Sepuloni.

Of course they do. Continue reading “The political payoff is plain but is it smart to borrow $219,512 per job (mostly temporary) to spruce up the Murihiku Marae?”

Let’s see what Andrew Little prescribes to remedy structural weaknesses in NZ’s health system

One  of the biggest  challenges  facing the  Ardern  government  is in  public health.   New Zealand  may have  escaped the  pressures heaped on other  health  systems by the Covid-19 pandemic but  its  health service has had  its problems, not  least those  exposed  in the  first  report from Heather Simpson and her team   and subsequently in  the Simpson-Roche report revealing deficiencies in  handling  aspects of the response to Covid-19

Both  of  those reports underlined  structural weaknesses  within  the system,  not  only in the  district  health  boards,  but in the  Ministry of  Health.  To  repair  them  would be  a  singular challenge  for any minister. It is  notable  the Prime  Minister  nominated Andrew Little  as the  one  with  the  know-how  to get to grips  with  those particular headaches.

But even with the skills he has, reforming  district  health boards will be a severe test for Little. Some of  them are under enormous financial stress  while others  are  failing to provide  the  full range  of  services  in a  timely manner.  And  let’s not forget the  government  has  yet  to make  significant  progress  in overcoming  the deficiencies  it has  acknowledged in the country’s mental  health services.

Beyond  that  there  are  other pressing  challenges  in health, for example  with diabetes. Continue reading “Let’s see what Andrew Little prescribes to remedy structural weaknesses in NZ’s health system”

Begorrah – Irish Moss brings relief to a leftie blogger who was discomforted by a foreign accent

Contrasting reactions to news of Grainne Moss’s resignation as Oranga Tamariki chief executive inevitably can be found in the blogosphere.

Lindsay Mitchell has recorded the ACT Party’s response to the resignation and hailed it as “spot on”.

The statement was made in the name of Karen Chhour, described as a part-Maori who grew up in foster care and hence has first-hand experience of Child, Youth and Family intervention:

“Oranga Tamariki (OT) will remain ungovernable and continue to fail children unless it’s allowed to focus on the one thing it was established to do, ensure the wellbeing of children,” says ACT’s Social Development and Children spokesperson Karen Chhour.

On the other side of the left-right-divide, Martyn Bradbury’s first instinct – an unabashed illiberal expression of intolerance – was to express relief at “not having to listen to Grainne Moss’s thick Irish accent lecture us about why the State needs to steal Māori children …”

Curiously, Bradbury seems to be arguing for the government to get out of the business of looking after the welfare of the country’s beaten and/or poverty-stricken children. Continue reading “Begorrah – Irish Moss brings relief to a leftie blogger who was discomforted by a foreign accent”

Twyford has something to celebrate, but the hard yards were put in on disarmament long before he was given the portfolio

It’s great to hear Phil Twyford celebrating a success.  Not a personal ministerial success, it’s fair to say, but a success nevertheless related to arms control.

The arms on which Twyford is focused,  it should be noted, will make quite a mess if they are triggered.  They tend to be nuclear ones.

Police Minister Poto Williams is similarly focused on arms control.

The arms in this case are not in the same big-bang league as those embraced by Twyford’s portfolio, but their potential to kill is plain enough and inevitably they became a political issue in the aftermath of the mosque massacre in Christchurch last year.

Williams yesterday announced the next steps in the Government’s firearms reform programme, a three-month amnesty aims to remove further firearms and arms items that were prohibited and restricted through the Arms Legislation Act 2020.

The Government has allocated $15.5 million for compensation and administrative costs.

Among other new announcements – Continue reading “Twyford has something to celebrate, but the hard yards were put in on disarmament long before he was given the portfolio”

Chris Liddell – yes, he worked for Trump, and he risked his job by recognising the need for a smooth transition

Chris Liddell has  dropped  his  candidacy to become  director-general of  the  Paris-based  OECD. Without  support  from the  Ardern  government  and    vilified  in the  media as  somehow being  involved in the  encouragement  by  Donald Trump of the  Washington riots, he  plainly saw he had  little  chance of  crowning  his  stellar  career  in an international post.

Liddell scored highly in the pre-selection rounds and was impressive in his interviews, according to diplomats in Paris.  He ended in the second tier behind the top three – from Australia, Sweden and Switzerland.  However, as support was not forthcoming from the new Biden administration, he felt obliged to withdraw.

Yet  those  who   have followed  his career  to  the  top rungs of international  business  and then  into the  White House  believe  NZ  is the  loser   for not winning  a  key  position in an international forum.

As for  condemning him for  his  role  in the  White  House, his critics   display their  ignorance.  Liddell is one member of the Trump White House credited with gaining credence and respectability around Washington DC in its final days.  He kept the wheels of government turning while Trump descended into a world of denial fuelled by right wing media. Continue reading “Chris Liddell – yes, he worked for Trump, and he risked his job by recognising the need for a smooth transition”

Stronger business investment – by farmers, too – is essential for NZ’s post-Covid recovery

In  its Thursday editorial  the NZ  Herald  speaks an important truth:  “Investment important to  stay  on  track”.  This  won’t  have  startled  its  more literate  readers but  in  its text  it notes  the  strong result  in the latest  Global Dairy Trade auction, which  prompted Westpac  to raise  its  forecast  for  dairy giant Fonterra’s payout  to its farmers to $7.50kg/MS  this season.

“If  this turns  out to be correct,  it will represent the highest  payout in  seven years for  a  sector of  the economy that is arguably still  NZ’s  most  important, even before international  tourism was effectively suspended by Covid-19”.

The  Herald editorial  goes on to make the case that despite the buoyant mood,  the  only  realistic  way for  NZ to remain   in such  solid shape in the  post-Covid era  is  through stronger  business  investment.

This  is  the theme  which  Point  of  Order  set  out  earlier  this  week when it  contended  Fonterra  should go hard  with this  seasons’s payout  to  encourage  investment  by its farmer-shareholders  in expanding  production. Continue reading “Stronger business investment – by farmers, too – is essential for NZ’s post-Covid recovery”

The PM congratulates a bloke who (if he turned to blogging) would fail Micky Savage’s age test

Two of three ministerial statements from the Beehive have been released in the name of the PM over the past two days. 

The more important, insofar as it involves political action that will affect the wellbeing of significant numbers of Kiwis, was the release of the government’s Public Housing Plan 2021-2024, which outlines the intention of where 8,000 additional public and transitional housing places announced in Budget 2020 will go.

This was jointly released by Jacinda Ardern and Housing Minister Megan Woods, who says the need for public housing for the most vulnerable members of our communities continues to grow.  Demand is outstripping supply, in other words, which calls for a strong critical focus on  the government’s policies to reverse this trend.  

But at Point of Order we were drawn first to the PM’s second statement, which records her congratulation of a white bloke of our vintage who has just been given a challenging new job.

We were especially heartened by the PM’s remarks because white blokes of our vintage are apt to be disparaged nowadays. Continue reading “The PM congratulates a bloke who (if he turned to blogging) would fail Micky Savage’s age test”

How “partnership” can shape relationships between councils and tribes – and the establishment of race-based grants

A new trough was brought to our attention this morning, although ethnicity will limit the numbers of eligible applicants.

If you are non-Maori, it looks like you shouldn’t bother getting into the queue – but who knows?

We learned of the trough from the Scoop website, where the Kapiti Coast District Council has posted its invitation to line up for a lick at the pickings. 

The 2020/21 Māori Economic Development Fund is now open to whānau, hapū, iwi and mātāwaka in Kāpiti to help develop their business or social enterprise.

The grants fund was established in 2013 by the Kāpiti Coast District Council and Te Whakaminenga o Kāpiti, providing financial assistance to a range of mana whenua entities such as the Māoriland Film Festival, Ōtaki Manuka Growers Ltd, Kāpiti Island Nature Tours and Toi Matarau Gallery. Continue reading “How “partnership” can shape relationships between councils and tribes – and the establishment of race-based grants”

Covid-19 border defences: pre-departure testing is extended (except for passengers from some countries)

The Point of Order Ministers on a Mission Monitor has flickered only fleetingly for much of the month.  More than once, the minister to trigger it has been David Parker, who set it off again yesterday with an announcement that shows how he has been spending our money.

He welcomed the first intake of cadets at the launch of the Bay Conservation Cadets – Tauira Mahi programme in Tauranga, a project supported by a grant of $3.5 million.  It is part of the Government’s Jobs for Nature scheme launched in the 2020 Budget to boost employment, protect and enhance the environment while accelerating the recovery from the impact of COVID-19.

Speaking of the virus, it’s the job of COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins to deal with the threat of a new strain sneaking through our protective defences.  And today he has announced the Government is extending pre-departure testing to all passengers to New Zealand except from Australia, Antarctica and most Pacific Islands.

The change will come into force for all flights arriving in New Zealand after 11:59pm (NZT) on Monday 25 January. Continue reading “Covid-19 border defences: pre-departure testing is extended (except for passengers from some countries)”