Exporters expect goodies to be generated by the CPTPP – but the Greens are grouching

New Zealand  this  week  ratified the Comprehensive  and  Progressive  Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact,  despite the   opposition of  the Green Party.  It is the fourth country  to  ratify  the pact  which has  been under  negotiation for  the best part of a  decade.

But  exporters  shouldn’t  break out the champagne  – not yet.  It  needs  six  countries  to  ratify the   pact  and then it enters into force 60 days  later. NZ expects  Australia and  Canada  to  ratify  it soon—though  Australia  now  has a minority  government, with other  parties in that country  opposing  ratification.

Trade  Minister   David Parker,  celebrating his  achievement  this week,  reckons  the  importance of  CPTPP  has  grown over recent months with the rapid escalation of protectionist measures around the world. Continue reading “Exporters expect goodies to be generated by the CPTPP – but the Greens are grouching”

Sir Ernest Rutherford today could go to university and learn how to synthesise his science with Māori belief

A warning about pseudoscience threatening to take hold of New Zealand if curious children don’t pursue science in schools is sounded today in an article on the Stuff website. 

House of Science chief executive and founder Chris Duggan is quoted as saying primary teachers don’t have the confidence to teach students science because of inadequate training and a lack of resources,

The extent of the threat to science teaching had become ominously plain a few days earlier in an item headed Schools to axe core subjects as shortage of specialist teachers reaches ‘crisis point. This report says secondary schools across the country could be forced to drop subjects as a teacher shortage becomes critical.

A lack of applicants for teaching positions in core subjects such as mathematics, science and technology is forcing schools to encourage older teachers out of retirement to teach, or use untrained teachers teaching students. Continue reading “Sir Ernest Rutherford today could go to university and learn how to synthesise his science with Māori belief”

Businesses are losing confidence – here’s hoping world leaders don’t lose theirs

Is the next recession  on  its   way?  Government   ministers  have brushed  aside  reports of falling  business and   consumer  confidence. They  argue   the  economy  is  trucking  ahead on a  solid growth  path.

Ominously, though, investors sniffing the breeze  feel  a  chill   in the air:  the   sharemarket’s  top 50 index  has  slumped  7%  in the last  10  days.

And  the government’s own   action  in  raising  petrol  taxes  has been the trigger  for  consumers to  pull  back spending.  The latest OneNews Colmar Brunton poll   found   57%  of  respondents  had either  adjusted  their  spending patterns or  reduced their driving.

People also spent less on essential items like groceries and electricity.  Spending on non-essential items  dropped by 44%.   Continue reading “Businesses are losing confidence – here’s hoping world leaders don’t lose theirs”

Yeah! NZ is the first to ratify PACER Plus (but don’t expect the Greens to celebrate)

An item of news from the Office of Trade Minister David Parker yesterday was headed  NZ first country to ratify PACER Plus trade deal. 

It would be good news in some quarters that NZ had completed the domestic procedures required to ratify the PACER Plus trade and development agreement. In others the response would have been indifference – but we imagine the Green Party was somewhat soured, because all its MPs opposed the legislative changes that were part of the ratifying process.

Their eight votes against the Tariff (PACER Plus) Amendment Bill at its third reading last month were the only noes, and with a whopping majority of Parliamentary support Parker could get on with doing what needed to be done before he declared yesterday:

Continue reading “Yeah! NZ is the first to ratify PACER Plus (but don’t expect the Greens to celebrate)”

Another international outrage, true – but none of our sheep were involved

Curiously, there’s  been  hardly a  peep   out of  the  Prime  Minister  about the  cruel  death of journalist  Jamal Kashoggi  in  the Saudi  Consulate  in Istanbul,  a  murder  undertaken by Saudi agents led by a  key figure  said to come from the royal office of  Crown Prince  Mohammed bin Salman, heir to the Saudi throne.

International outrage has mounted and European leaders have condemned  the killing, after reports that a 15-member Saudi  team, knowing Kashoggi  would enter the consulate on October 2  to get a  document he needed, accosted him, cut off his fingers, killed and dismembered him.

This appalling event follows  the  poisoning by Russian  agents  of  the Skripals  in Salisbury   and  is part of  a trend   whereby  state  regimes  are  going  rogue to  dispose  of  their enemies. Continue reading “Another international outrage, true – but none of our sheep were involved”

Down but not out – Bridges can take heart from Jim Bolger’s poll experience

Much  excitement  is frothing among the  leftish  commentary  at the  poll rating  for  National leader Simon Bridges,  down to  7%   in the latest Colmar Brunton  sample.   Can  he  last   at this  level?

Not   easy,  but then the  party’s  level  at   43%   is still  remarkably strong,  given  the   extraordinary events  that were taking place   even as the pollsters  were  making their calls.

Even  though the  ambitions  of   some  behind  Bridges    are  palpable,  they  are  hardly  likely  to  risk calling  for a  no-confidence   vote  at this point. Continue reading “Down but not out – Bridges can take heart from Jim Bolger’s poll experience”

Today is Tuesday – so where in the world will the Minister be?

If they are not hard at work in their Beehive offices, our Ministers will be busy with engagements here and there around the country – or engaged in very important business overseas.

The Point of Order monitor of Beehive travel announcements in the past month shows this…

Continue reading “Today is Tuesday – so where in the world will the Minister be?”

Ministerial appointments monitor – jobs for the boys (and 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.

This enables government ministers to wield substantial power in making board appointments and creates a perception that appointments are a form of political patronage.

Point of Order’s weekly monitoring of Beehive press statements to learn who has been favoured by ministerial appointments in the past week shows this … Continue reading “Ministerial appointments monitor – jobs for the boys (and jobs for the girls, too)”

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 invested, 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 providing photo opportunities to promote themselves.

Troughers aren’t the only recipients, it’s fair to say.  But separating prudent spending – 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. Continue reading “The trough monitor: where did the politicians spend our money this week?”

The case for a sugar tax is sweetened if NZIER report is overlooked

When Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said New Zealand would  not join the countries that are signing up for a war against drugs – as championed by US President Donald Trump – she said her government has an agenda that is focused on addressing issues around drug use.

“We have a number of challenges that are quite specific to New Zealand and the type of drugs that are present, but also I’m taking a health approach.

“We want to do what works, so we are using a strong evidence-base to do that.”

Whether she will similarly use a strong evidence base to decide on how to reduce sugar consumption is a moot point.

Questioned a year ago by Mike Hosking on Newstalk ZB, she said reducing sugar is a priority of the new government. Continue reading “The case for a sugar tax is sweetened if NZIER report is overlooked”