The Hands Off Our Tamariki Network has an admirable ring to its name. Here’s hoping everybody gets the message because if whanau members kept their hands off their tamaraki … well, there would be no need for a state agency to intervene and get its hands on the victims of domestic violence.
The reasons why the Oranga Tamariki agency becomes involved in caring for children has been somewhat downplayed by speakers at protest meetings who demand the state leave their mokopuna alone and insist Māori be the ones caring for their children.
Yet while they call for the state to stay away when Maori children are involved, paradoxically they want the government to do something: Continue reading “Amidst howls of “racism”, protesters demand an agency boss’s resignation because – begorrah – she is Irish”
Foreign Minister Winston Peters has done the hard yards, trade officials and diplomats have put in long hours – but NZ won’t achieve a free trade agreement with the US until PM Jacinda Ardern sees President Donald Trump. That’s the way these things work.
New British PM Boris Johnson has already been on the phone to Trump and this week his new trade minister, Liz Truss, is heading to Washington DC, on much the same lines as Peters has pursued.
Trump says he is keen to do a deal with the Brits – in part to thumb the US nose at Europe and bring the UK closer into the US orbit.
Our contacts in the US capital believe that, at official level, all the signs are right to launch a US-NZ FTA round. Both parties want to dance. Continue reading “The omens are promising for a US-NZ free trade agreement – but our PM must meet with Trump”
While Kelvin Davis is calling oinkers to dip into a trough in his Tourism ministerial bailiwick, the Under Secretary for Regional Economic Development, Fletcher Tabuteau, was strutting his stuff at the official grand opening of a gondola which has been well oiled, financially, from the the Provincial Growth Fund to encourage tourism.
Tabuteau also announced two PGF grants totalling $525,000 (plus a $25,000 contribution from the Department of Conservation) to support the Ruapehu District Council in undergoing vital long-term planning to foster sustainable tourism growth.
Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni meanwhile was announcing an initiative to help young Aucklanders gain their driver’s licence. She claimed this will make the roads safer, a disturbing bit of information which implies a serious lack of policing to make our roads safer by ridding them of unlicensed drivers.
Oh – and Pacific People’s Minister Aupito William Sio was applying ethnic as well as geographical constraints to the help he was announcing: the beneficiairies will be Pacific young people living in the Bay of Plenty, Waikato and Whanganui/Manawatu.
All this was detected in recent days by the Point of Order Trough Monitor, which checks out the blah from the Beehive (it is up to readers to decide if the money is being well spent or squandered). Continue reading “Tourism is being nicely nourished by taxpayers and its Minister is calling eligible hogs to a replenished trough”
How to get this point across. Things have changed in the UK – really, really changed – now that Boris Johnson is PM.
Continue reading “Boris has a strategy – no really he does”
PM Jacinda Ardern isn’t too fussed about China’s expansion in the Pacific.
This is hardly surprising since she has been in Samoa, a recipient of recent Chinese largesse. But it does reinforce the view among NZ officials that she and Foreign Minister Winston Peters do not see eye to eye on the issue. On Peters’ recent Washington DC visit he reiterated his concerns; these are shared by the US, which is planning to ramp up its activity in the region.
Ardern’s sangfroid is not shared across the Tasman. There, Australia and the US have expressed concern about Cambodia giving China exclusive rights to a Cambodian naval installation in the Gulf of Thailand in a hitherto undisclosed agreement. Continue reading “Ardern and Peters at odds on China’s expansion into the Pacific”
So how “transformational” will the zero carbon legislation prove to be?
Many New Zealanders have come to believe global warming poses a real danger to their lives – but will the new legislation remove, or even lessen, the danger?
Under the legislation, agriculture for the first time is brought into the emissions trading scheme. That’s won support from Green lobbyists, but many say it’s too little, too late – “a weak-ass carbon reform”.
On the other side, the criticism is just as pointed. There are no tools to measure on-farm emissions and what the government proposes could shrivel NZ’s growth rate by up to $50bn a year. Continue reading “Leading the world and saving it, too – but let’s brace for a drop in our standard of living (and wellbeing)”
We propose a meeting between former New Zealand Attorney-General Chris Finlayson and Britain’s newly appointed Leader of the House of Commons, Jacob Rees-Mogg, to swap notes on good grammar and effective communication. Mind you, we would prefer to steer well clear of any meeting between this particular pair of politicians. Their enthusiasm for pedantry – we fear – would rapidly become tiresome.
Finlayson, it might be remembered, had a passion for avoiding split infinitives and eschewing the use Oxford commas.
He provided his staff with a list of more than 20 banned expressions.
Rees-Mogg’s staff similarly have been directed to avoid using certain words and to address men with the courtesy title “esquire.” Continue reading “Just imagine a meeting of these two minds and the avoidance of split infinitives”
Every so often, an editor desperate for copy runs a feature promoting some Commonwealth-revival initiative. Most of these are bad ideas. But a recent one is worth thinking twice about.
CANZUK is a proposal for arrangements, or even a pact, leading to freedom of movement, free trade and foreign policy coordination between Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom (the “CANZUK” countries). It has its own global think tank and advocacy body (Canzuk International) with a modest profile in the four countries. It got a bit of coverage on Stuff last year. Now its getting more air time in the UK as Boris Johnson’s government seeks to exit the EU by 31 October.
Continue reading “CANZUK – a terrible name but a promising idea”
Occasionally a piece of writing succinctly captures some essential truths. Martin Gurri, author of the blog The Fifth Way, chronicles the ideology / world view / zeitgeist of what he quaintly terms the industrial elite in his Notes from a Nameless Conference.
Continue reading “Familiar notes from a nameless conference”
It has been a momentous week for the country’s justice system and old-fashioned notions of “law and order”.
First, the Ardern government has said it is considering a report which recommends the abolition of prisons. A Maori-led review of the justice system is also urged by this report.
Second, the PM has intervened in a land dispute in Auckland and thereby over-ridden the role of the courts.
Getting rid of prisons is the remedy ingeniously proposed to reduce the high ratio of Maori inmates in our prisons.
The proposal is contained in the Ināia Tonu Nei: Māori Justice Hui report (here) released during the week. Continue reading “Law and order rules are being rewritten as Ardern bridles at accusations of leadership failure”