Oops – our climate change emissions have risen (at the last count) but we are leading the way with financial reporting legislation

Whoopee – another first for our nation.  According to the headline on a Beehive press statement, NZ becomes first in world for climate reporting.

This drew attention to the announcement that New Zealand has become the first country in the world to introduce a law that requires the financial sector to disclose the impacts of climate change on their business and explain how they will manage climate-related risks and opportunities.

Not so praiseworthy, the latest annual inventory of New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions shows that both gross and net emissions increased by 2 percent in the 12 months from the end of 2018.

This prompted an exhortation from Climate Change Minister James Shaw that we must strive to do better.

Those two statements emerged from The Beehive along with news that – Continue reading “Oops – our climate change emissions have risen (at the last count) but we are leading the way with financial reporting legislation”

Psst! The whispers among diplomats in the capital draw attention to shortcomings on NZ’s foreign-policy front

Does New Zealand have a contemporary foreign policy, let alone a defence policy? Some of our nearest and dearest are beginning to wonder.

Ambassadors in Wellington are among the world’s most discreet but word is beginning to trickle out.

What is the government up to?  Why does it move at glacial speed on foreign-policy issues when there is plenty of energy – evidently – for social policy issues and the improvement of Kiwis’ wellbeing?

Oh – and when will ministers travel again? A senior official left for an overseas visit last week and our contacts in Wellington tell us it was treated almost as though he was making the first flight to the moon.

Going away from NZ? What about the Covid-19 risks, how will quarantine be managed once home?  What of the risk that he might bring Covid back with him?

We are taking only a little levity here but there is a developing opinion that the Ardern government doesn’t have its act together. Continue reading “Psst! The whispers among diplomats in the capital draw attention to shortcomings on NZ’s foreign-policy front”

Young eco-warriors press for change – if they get what they demand, they should brace for a lower standard of living

The latest  cohort of school students  took  to the  streets  last week  to  demand  climate  change action. In  Wellington, several thousand strikers marched to Parliament.

Izzy Cook, one of the organisers, said they had their own list of demands.

“Investing in a just transition to a sustainable future, reducing agricultural emissions, prohibiting the use of fossil fuels nationwide so phasing them out, getting climate education [and] honouring our neighbours in the Pacific Islands.” 

 The demands were handed over to Climate Change Minister James Shaw.

But he said it’s not just him who needs to be listening. Continue reading “Young eco-warriors press for change – if they get what they demand, they should brace for a lower standard of living”

Govt goes into partnership (again), this time to better deal with young Maori offenders

Our Beehive bulletin

Has anyone been keeping tabs on the number of race-based “partnerships” established by the Ardern government?

Another one popped up today, proudly announced by Children’s Minister Kelvin Davis. It’s an “innovative’ as well as new Youth Justice residence “designed in partnership with Māori” to provide “prevention, healing, and rehabilitation services for both young people and their families.

It was one of three new posts on The Beehive website since Point of Order last checked on what our Ministers are doing.

The others are

  • An accounting for what is being accomplished under the Construction Skills Action Plan (it has delivered early on its overall target of supporting an additional 4,000 people into construction-related education and employment, says Minister for Building and Construction Poto Williams).
  • Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s expression of New Zealand’s sorrow at the death of His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

Ardern noted that The Duke of Edinburgh held several New Zealand honours and appointments.  She mentioned some of his NZ gongs along with some of the organisations – more than 780, the press statement said – of which he was patron or a member. Continue reading “Govt goes into partnership (again), this time to better deal with young Maori offenders”

Indian flight ban passes muster with many lawyers but human rights chief wants more information

Chief  Human Rights Commissioner Paul Hunt is championing the rights of New Zealand citizens and residents who are being inconvenienced by the Government’s decision to suspend travel from India for two weeks.  

The Government needs to be more transparent about the decision, which took effect yesterday and will remain until April 28, he huffs.

Other experts and commentators seem to have found enough evidence to be satisfied – perhaps with reservations – about the legality of the travel constraint.  

Newshub recalled Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern saying the move had been made due to the large number of Covid-19 cases coming into New Zealand from India.

The country is currently battling a massive resurgence of the virus, with about 116,000 new cases announced on April 6 alone.

The numbers have surged since then. Continue reading “Indian flight ban passes muster with many lawyers but human rights chief wants more information”

We should brace for the boiler ban – but $22.88m has been handed out to help businesses decarbonise

Our Beehive bulletin

The Government’s ban on new low and medium temperature coal-fired boilers and partnering with the private sector to help it transition away from fossil fuels perhaps ranked as the most important Beehive announcement yesterday.

It was the first major announcement to follow the release of the Climate Commission’s draft package of advice to Government in February and was accompanied by the distribution of dollops of corporate welfare to  the successful applicants in round one of the Government Investment in Decarbonising Industry Fund.

Fourteen companies will receive $22.88m in co-funding to help their businesses transition away from fossil fuels.

The ban on new coal boilers used in manufacturing and production will come into effect by 31 December.

A consultation document for other coal proposals can be found on the Ministry for the Environment website.

The energy announcement was one of several to emerge during a busy day in the Beehive, many of them enabling Ministers to bray about the big bucks (or small ones) they were throwing around. Continue reading “We should brace for the boiler ban – but $22.88m has been handed out to help businesses decarbonise”

Capital thinking on decolonisation – give voting rights to tribal appointees on council committees and mute the voice of non-Maori

Eight Wellington City Councillors – given the critical constitutional choice of Treaty partnership or democracy – yesterday voted in favour of further undermining the council’s democratic election and decision-making structures by granting voting rights to the representatives appointed by Maori tribes to sit on council committees.

Only six councillors voted against an arrangement to allow one representative from each of Taranaki Whānui ki Te Upoko o Te Ika and Ngāti Toa Rangatira to sit on most council committees and subcommittees with full voting rights from 1 July.

The council will reimburse each tribe by paying an annual fee, equivalent to the remuneration of a full time elected member, which is currently $111,225.

Some councillors egregiously magnified their anti-democratic instincts by rebuking the Mayor (as the Dominion-Post reports) for

“ … putting forward an amendment calling for the ‘significant’ change to be put out for public feedback before going to a council vote.”

Curiously, the words “significant” has been put in quotes.

Does the newspaper think otherwise?

Apparently yes, because its report of this governance vote (relegated to Page 4 this morning)  focused on Mayor Andy Foster being accused of “delay tactics” for suggesting the proposal be taken to the public for discussion.

One councillor, Jenny Condie, said the proposal did not require formal public feedback because it would be “rectifying an injustice”.

But shouldn’t the public be allowed to assess the nature of this injustice and influence the remedy? Continue reading “Capital thinking on decolonisation – give voting rights to tribal appointees on council committees and mute the voice of non-Maori”

China’s growth is a key factor in lifting returns from NZ’s major exports

New Zealand’s producers of  major exports  have  been  earning  the  country record returns   in  foreign  markets.

It’s  the  news which  should  buoy  the whole country after  such a  tough  year.

ANZ’s monthly commodity price index rose 6%  in March on February, and  is 20% higher than a year ago,  to  peak  at its highest point since it was started in 1986.

Standing out has been the strength of global dairy prices, which gained 12.7% in March, the highest in seven years.  Returns  for whole milk powder, a key driver  for Fonterra’s suppliers, were 43%  higher than last year.

ANZ’s agricultural economist Susan Kilsby said:

“Dairy prices are currently being supported by strong global demand, combined with a steady milk supply in the main dairy-exporting nations”.

Meat was close to a one-year high, while logs and aluminium were sitting near two-year highs.

The common feature of the strong prices and demand was China, which was growing more strongly than most economies after the pandemic, Kilsby said. Continue reading “China’s growth is a key factor in lifting returns from NZ’s major exports”

Govt invests our money on aerospace studies and on boosting the food and fibre sector

Our Beehive bulletin

Boosts for the food and fibre sector, one of the country’s oldest industries and a major export earner, and the fledgling aerospace industry were announced yesterday.

Megan Woods put her Housing duties aside to enthuse about a development in her research, science and innovation portfolio and the potential for New Zealand to lead joint space missions.

Twelve New Zealand organisations have been chosen to work with world-leading experts at the German Aerospace Centre (DLR) to complete feasibility studies related to propulsion, space communications and remote sensing technologies.

Government spending of about $900,000 is mentioned about two-thirds of the way down the press statement.

Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor announced the Government is backing more initiatives to boost NZ’s food and fibre sector workforce, including spending of up to $240,000 on an on-the-job mentoring programme. Continue reading “Govt invests our money on aerospace studies and on boosting the food and fibre sector”

Beyond the bubble, the PM could score political points by restoring trans-Tasman harmony and rekindling the CER spirit

At  last  the trans-Tasman bubble  is  inflating. New Zealanders  are so excited that few  are bothering  to question  why it  took so long and government ministers  are pleased  that  the  media  furore is  concealing  its  failure  on several fronts, not  least in the vaccination  programme, which is proving to be one of the slowest  among  the  world’s  advanced  economies.

That  furore has  also  obscured  the  fact  that Australia opened up  to NZ  six  months ago.

Then  there  has been  the  wrestling  match in  Cabinet  over  just  when  the bubble should begin,  with Jacinda  Ardern applying  the handbrake  because of the  risk that  any  outbreak, particularly with some  of the newer variants, would put a blot on the  government’s pandemic performance.

ACT’s  David  Seymour  says

“Jacinda  Ardern couldn’t  treat us like lucky little prisoners any longer”. Continue reading “Beyond the bubble, the PM could score political points by restoring trans-Tasman harmony and rekindling the CER spirit”