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”
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”
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”
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)”
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”
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”
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?”
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)”
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?”
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”