More jobs for the boys (and yes, jobs for the girls, too)

When Ethnic Communities Minister Jenny Salesa announced the Cabinet decision to  have ethnicity data collected for candidates appointed to State sector boards and committees, she said the government every year makes appointments to 429 state sector boards and committees.

Whether the appointment process is sufficiently transparent is a good question.

Transparency International in 2013 said government ministers wield substantial power in making board appointments, creating a perception that appointments are a form of political patronage. Establishing an independent commissioner or widening the State Services Commissioner’s role was suggested to improve transparency.

The Key Government rejected the proposal and said a rigorous process is already in place for making ministerial appointments.

Information on the requirements and processes for considering appointments (and reappointments) can be found HERE and the standard process for appointments is outlined  HERE. 

The power to appoint was lightly exercised in the past week.  Point of Order’s monitoring of Beehive press statements found only this…


Broadcasting Standards Authority appointments announced

Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media Minister Kris Faafoi announced the appointment of Wellingtonian Judge Bill Hastings as member and chair of the Broadcasting Standards Authority (BSA). Lawyer Susie Staley, of Dunedin, was appointed to the board.

Hastings, a District Court Judge, was New Zealand’s tenth Chief Censor from 1998 to 2010 and chairperson of the Immigration and Protection Tribunal from July 2010 until February 2013. 

He has held positions as senior law lecturer, Deputy Dean of Law and member of the governing Council at Victoria University, Wellington. He has been a  member of the Video Recordings Authority, the Indecent Publications Tribunal and the Film and Literature Board of Review.

Susie Staley, a partner in Staley Cardoza Lawyers, has chaired Maritime New Zealand and is chair for Save the Children NZ and retirement village operator Chatsford Management Ltd. She has chaired ID Dunedin Fashion Inc and been a board member of PGG Wrightson, Tower Ltd and Dunedin International Airport. She was a panel member of the Enterprise Awards for Industry New Zealand and a member of the Performance and Risk Advisory Board for the Ministry of Transport.

The two new appointments replace Peter Radich and Te Raumawhitu Kupenga.

The trough monitor: where did the politicians spend our money this week?

Point of Order is keeping an eye on how taxpayers’ money is being spent – or given away – by the Ardern Government.

Ministers typically get a warm glow from announcing spending decisions, grants or the establishment of new troughs within the authority of their portfolios – and from the consequential photo opportunities.

Troughers aren’t the only recipients, it’s fair to say. But separating the spending of the sort which all taxpayers expect from a good government from the more questionable sort can be very much a matter of opinion. We’ll leave it to readers to decide.

Another way of consuming our tax monies is to create new agencies, commissions or what-have-you.

One of those has been spotted during our monitoring in a week which otherwise was light on announcements, perhaps because our Ministers were otherwise engaged watching TV reportage of the PM strutting her stuff on the New York stage.

Here’s what our check of the Beehive press statements shows – Continue reading “The trough monitor: where did the politicians spend our money this week?”

MP’s Mandarin prayer is all very well – but what about those unanswered questions?

Raymond Huo, a Labour MP,  officially celebrated this year’s New Zealand Chinese Language Week by reading the Parliamentary prayer in Mandarin at 2pm on Tuesday.

News of the reading was contained in a press release from Silvereye Communications and is recorded at Hansard, but news media seem not to have paid much heed (at least, Point of Order found no media report of what transpired in a Google search).

It didn’t escape the critical attention of economist Michael Reddell, however, who posted his thoughts in an item  headed Shame on our MPs. Continue reading “MP’s Mandarin prayer is all very well – but what about those unanswered questions?”

From stardom in New York, it’s back to earth (and some muckiness) for the PM

PM  Jacinda  Ardern   has had an almost triumphal  visit to  New York, rounding it off   with a  maiden  speech  which  drew   respectful applause  (rather than the laughs  which  greeted  Donald Trump’s opening salvoes) in the UN General  Assembly.  And then there  was her  celebrity status on  US  chat shows  where  she spoke and enchanted  (we hope)  millions of  Americans.

Heady  stuff – though it may take some  time  to  distill  the   after-match  reaction, in terms of achieving  positive outcomes for  NZ.

But  as  she  sets out on the journey home with baby  Neve,  she won’t be looking  forward to the  report  card to be handed to her by  acting  PM  Winston  Peters. Continue reading “From stardom in New York, it’s back to earth (and some muckiness) for the PM”

Megan Woods still in the firing line over handling of energy legislation

“NZ’s  economic  engine  will seize  under  oil ban”,  is the New Zealand Herald  headline  over a  rant  by   radio talkback  star  Mike Hosking.

What this government is doing to places  like  Taranaki with  its ban on new  exploration licences   for oil  and  gas  is  economic  sabotage,” he thunders.

Well,   not   quite.

Only  this week,  listed  oil explorer   NZ  Oil and Gas  and its partners have started drilling the Kohatukai-1 exploration well south-east of New Plymouth. The objective  is  to test the Matapo and Mangahewa sands that deliver gas in the Pohokura, Turangi and Mangahewa fields north-east of the city. Continue reading “Megan Woods still in the firing line over handling of energy legislation”

We await answers from Peters and Davis to questions about Treaty partnership and co-governance

Kelvin Davis, whose ministerial domain has been expanded by the establishment of the Office for Māori Crown Relations: Te Arawhiti, has yet to reply to questions sent to him more than a week ago on the constitutional implications of a recent Cabinet decision.

Point of Order hoped to establish if he supports the establishment of more co-governance arrangements around the country and – if so – in which areas of public administration and governance?

We also asked:

  1. Will the promotion of co-governance arrangements be among the objectives of the newly established Maori-Crown relationship agency?
  2. What does the Minister believe is meant by the Treaty “partnership” (it is not actually mentioned in the Treaty of Waitangi) and when was a Treaty “partnership” first officially invoked for governmental policy-making purposes?

Continue reading “We await answers from Peters and Davis to questions about Treaty partnership and co-governance”

Fallout from the CTO fiasco spreads from Clare Curran to – oh, look! – the PM

The  mystery over  Derek Handley’s appointment as  the government’s Chief Technology Officer, and then its abrupt revocation,  has deepened.

Handley’s own revelation of  his email  exchanges with Prime Minister Jacinda  Ardern has shown at best she  was “economical  with the truth” (as commentators  like Bryce  Edwards put it)  in her answers  to  Parliament.  Did  she  just have a  lapse of memory  (something which seems to afflict Winston Peters more frequently these days), about those  emails?

Then there is the plainly shabby  treatment of Handley over the revocation of the  Cabinet  decision to put  him in the job, for which he returned with his family from  New York.   Clare Curran  was  wrapped up  in her own  misery  over the appointment  and her   successor,  Megan Woods, got around to apologising to Handley  only after he had  published  his  side of the story  in the  New Zealand HeraldThe  newspaper front-paged it with lines like

” … the [Handley] family arrived back in the country days before finding out his contract was scrapped.” Continue reading “Fallout from the CTO fiasco spreads from Clare Curran to – oh, look! – the PM”

Motorists brace for higher fuel taxes while the govt paves the way for more cycling

Motorists  will be  bracing themselves   for another round of petrol price increases—not  only  because  the   government is  increasing petrol tax  by 3.5c a litre on  October  1,  but  also  because international crude prices are rising  and the  NZ  dollar  has depreciated around  13%  since March.

Prices  for  West Texas  and  Brent crude  have risen  between  35%  and  40%  since   this time  last year.  At the pump  the national fuel price last month  for  91 octane  was  $2.32 a  litre,  with  prices of up to  $2.50 in some regions.

Stations in Wellington and many parts of the South Island, and other areas which use the so-called “national price”, are now charging $2.409 a litre for regular petrol, the latest in a series of record highs seen in recent weeks.

Diesel prices, at $1.809, are at the highest level in just over a decade.

Continue reading “Motorists brace for higher fuel taxes while the govt paves the way for more cycling”

Kavanaugh politicking shows what happens when judges are expected to become political players

WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT:  Politics is about uniting people, according to an oft-used platitude.  But it’s also about dividing people, as shown by the latest developments in the battle to install Brett Kavanaugh, a federal judge, on the US Supreme Court.

Shortly before the end of public hearings before the relevant US Senate committee, an allegation has been made that Kavanaugh committed a sexual assault when he was at school 36 years ago.

Senate Democrats, who oppose his nomination, say a vote on his confirmation should be delayed while this is investigated.

Republicans, who support Kavanaugh, say Democrats knew about the allegation a while ago and are only now asking for an investigation to delay a vote until after elections in November. They plan to have both nominee and his accuser, Christine Ford, examined by the committee on Thursday. Continue reading “Kavanaugh politicking shows what happens when judges are expected to become political players”

Govt rejects MBIE costings of oil decision – so where are its own numbers?

The Ardern government’s ban  on new oil and gas  exploration could cost the country  from $1.2bn  to $23.5bn  in foregone revenue, according to official advice from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and  Employment.  The MBIE  modelling, quality-checked  by Treasury,  points to lost oil company profits falling within a range of $199m and $7.3bn, with a calculated mid-point of $2.1bn.

Energy and Resources  Minister Megan  Woods says the government disputes  the figures— but doesn’t  offer  its own estimate. She  has introduced  to  Parliament the Crown Minerals Amendment Bill, which will legislate  officially  to stop new offshore oil and gas exploration permits.

The Green Party, welcoming the  bill, says  it is

“ … a special day for the planet, and proof that this government are now meaningfully acting to address climate change”. Continue reading “Govt rejects MBIE costings of oil decision – so where are its own numbers?”