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 works out at around eight lots of appointments each week (8.25% if you don’t like rounded numbers).

But Point of Order’s weekly monitoring of Beehive press statements shows ministers had a lax week, when it comes to dispensing jobs since last Monday. We found none.

Maybe the pace will pick up when those who were overseas come back home.

The Trough Monitor: where did the politicians spend our money this week?

The Trough Monitor at Point of Order keeps an eye on how taxpayers’ money is being invested, spent, given away or squandered 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.

One new trough has been opened for the rural sector – the $40m a year Sustainable Food & Fibre Futures fund.

Other spending is portended, such as the legislation to establish a Criminal Case Review Commission and a report which recommends Māori be given more influence in biodiversity matters.

But the biggie this week is the portent of costs up to $2bn to raise the standards of wastewater treatment plants that discharge into rivers and lakes across the country.

This post was updated on 29 October to include an item we didn’t spot earlier, related to the planning and building of a new new Multi-Use Arena in Christchurch.

Here’s what we spotted on the Beehive website … Continue reading “The Trough Monitor: where did the politicians spend our money this week?”

TIL Logistics paves the way for reducing emissions with hydrogen fuel cell technology

Did  Energy  Minister  Megan Woods    just get lucky?   In the  week  she signed up to  work with Japan  in developing  hydrogen technology in the move to a  low- carbon  economy,  the big  transport  firm  TIL Logistics Group  says  it is  working with New Plymouth-based Hiringa Energy  on hydrogen fuel cell technology transport solutions in NZ.

The project has the potential to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions from TIL’s national fleet of 900 trucks, 310 forklifts and 170 light vehicles.

Woods   has been under  fire    for  the  ban   she  imposed on  offshore oil and gas  exploration.  But  with  TIL   leading the way  on hydrogen fuel cell  technology, it  may be  the  transition  away from  fossil  fuels  may go  faster  than even the government could have expected.

The cooperation agreement between NZ’s Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry reached in Tokyo on October 23 by Minister Woods and Hiroshige Seko, Japan’s Economy, Trade and Industry Minister,  is the first  of  its kind  that  Japan has  signed Continue reading “TIL Logistics paves the way for reducing emissions with hydrogen fuel cell technology”

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)”