Just a day after announcing financial help for the culture community and for farmers, the Beehive brought news of even more money for those groups.
In the case of the farmers, mind you, the help is focused on just one region. The Government is investing $844,000 in King Country River Care, a group that helps farmers to lift freshwater quality and farming practice.
This followed the announcement on Wednesday of a $700 million fund that will create jobs in riparian and wetland planting, removing sediments and other initiatives to prevent farm run off entering waterways. The fund is for the primary sector, iwi/Māori, local government and their communities.
The creative sector learned the government has set up a jobseekers programme and four new funds to help the arts and music industry recover from the blow of COVID-19.
This is intended to support thousands of jobs with a $175 million package, a sum described as “a crucial economic boost to support the arts and creative sector”, which contributes nearly $11 billion a year to GDP, employs 90,000 people and supports the wellbeing of communities.
According to the details the government is offering: Continue reading “A day later, the culture sector and farmers (some, anyway) get a second helping of public funding” →
Jacinda Ardern and her government have won global admiration for vanquishing the coronavirus. At home their ratings have soared. Polls show more than 80% of those sampled support the way the government handled the pandemic crisis.
New Zealanders accept without a blink the virus is universal and ubiquitous, a threat to all humankind. They celebrate how as part of a team of 5 million led by Ardern (and Ashley Bloomfield – whoever thought a public servants would become such a cult figure?) they repulsed Covid-19.
There is adulation of the kindness and compassion displayed by the Prime Minister.
Other governments, by comparison, have been condemned for their bungling and incompetence, the failures of their public health systems, and death tolls criticised as needless.
Foreign affairs commentator Simon Tisdall in The Guardian says a new age of revolution is dawning — but just what kind of revolution it may be will rest on how the pandemic’s shock waves and after-effects are directed and shaped. Continue reading “Perhaps we need Peters to temper the adulation and prevent the landslide re-election of the Ardern government” →
Creative Kiwis and cockies are among the beneficiaries of government decisions announced yesterday.
The creative crowd was given support amounting to $95 million (or so), announced by Prime Minister and Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Jacinda Ardern, who said thousands of artists and creatives at hundreds of cultural and heritage organisations have been given much-needed support to recover from the impact of COVID-19.
“The cultural sector was amongst the worst hit by the global pandemic,” Jacinda Ardern said.
The grand total was not highlighted in the press statement but these numbers help us work it out –
$25 million for Creative New Zealand
$1.4 million for the Antarctic Heritage Trust
$11.364 million to Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga
$18 million for the Museum of New Zealand Te papa Tongarewa
$2 million for the Museum Hardship Fund to be administered by Te Papa
$31.8 million for Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision (including funding to prevent the loss of the audio and visual collection which is rapidly deteriorating)
$2.03 million for Royal New Zealand Ballet
$4 million for Waitangi National Trust Board Continue reading “The Beehive pumps out more millions – some of it for the cultural sector but a bigger lump to clean up waterways” →
NZ’s primary exports held up well in April, again proving the country’s farming industries are sustaining the economy despite many sectors being stricken by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Almost coincidentally, a UMR probe of public opinion about farming revealed a sharp swing in perception.
Instead of the negativity that had been undermining morale – particularly in the dairy industry, triggered by anti-farming lobby groups which conjured up the slogan “dirty dairying” to turn urban opinion against the industry – the UMR polling showed attitudes have tilted deeper into positive territory.
UMR Research, a skilled operator in its field (better known as the company which does polling for Labour), found in its sampling 63% of those polled had a positive view of sheep and beef farming, a rise of 9% compared with a previous poll on the same issue eight months ago.
Similarly, the perception about dairy farming had also strengthened by 9% , from 51% to 60%.
Horticulture has the top rating of 65%, while fishing clicked over to 53%, up from 47%. Continue reading “Poll finds a growing public appreciation of NZ’s primary exports – and new trade stats underscore their importance” →
Two statements from the Beehive yesterday were enlightening for taxpayers trying to keep tabs on the burgeoning billions being spent on facilitating the economic recovery.
One statement told us how much is being handed out to small businesses.
Correction. One statement told us how much is being loaned to small businesses: it’s almost $1 billion in interest-free loans. “Around” $960 million to be a bit more precise.
The other advised us of progress on the investment in two new Cook Strait ferries.
The relevant figures in the press statement tell us:
The $400 million towards the ferries and KiwiRail’s land-side infrastructure builds on a $35 million investment in last year’s Budget for ferry design and procurement work. It is part of the Government’s overall $4.6 billion-dollar investment in rail.
The only other announcements from the Beehive Ballyhoo Brigade yesterday advised us that: Continue reading “Nash enthuses at the nearing of a billion-dollar milestone while Peters brings us up to date with a ferry story” →
We’ve heard of people being treated like animals by the governments of some countries. But two statements from the Beehive yesterday suggest the well-being of beasts – those that contribute to our export receipts, at least – is much higher in government budget priorities than the well-being of people.
Exhibit one: A statement from Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters, Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods, and Health Minister David Clark. They announced a COVID-19 vaccine strategy, which will enable New Zealand scientists to contribute to global research efforts and explore the potential of vaccine manufacturing capability in New Zealand.
Government has allocated $37 million to the strategy.
Exhibit two: A statement from Agriculture and Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor, who referenced the latest technical data in showing progress on New Zealand’s world-first plan to eradicate the cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis.
He reminded us that two years ago the Government, DairyNZ and Beef + Lamb New Zealand and industry partners made a bold decision to go hard and commit funds to a 10-year programme to eradicate M. bovis to protect our most important sector and the economy.
The sum involved: $880 million. Continue reading “No bull, but much bigger bucks have been budgeted to beat Mycoplasma bovis than for the govt’s Covid vaccine strategy” →
A lot of people – including quite a few in Britain’s Conservative party – don’t like Dominic Cummings, special adviser to PM Boris Johnson and a key figure in the Vote Leave campaign in the 2016 Brexit referendum and the 2019 Brexit-focused general election.
So there was some undisguised joy when it was suggested that he had – like some other prominent and now departed public figures – broken the lockdown rules, in his case by travelling from London to Durham to ensure emergency childcare. Continue reading “Boris shows some backbone” →
A great deal of disgruntlement was generated by the one press statement to be released from the Beehive yesterday.
The Government announced the COVID Income Relief Payment, a $570 million temporary programme to support New Zealanders who lose their jobs due to the global COVID-19 pandemic – it will help them to adjust and find new employment or retrain.
The good news (but only for eligible residents and citizens) was reflected in headlines such as Covid 19 coronavirus: Kiwis who lost jobs in pandemic crisis to get $490 a week income relief payment.
The announcement of the Covid Income Relief Payment was accompanied by news that work is under way
“ … on the possibility of a more permanent unemployment insurance scheme in New Zealand. The Future of Work Ministers group has commissioned the work following a request from Business New Zealand and the Council of Trade Unions.
“As we move from the respond and recover phases of our COVID response, and towards rebuilding the economy, we have an opportunity to reset some of the foundations of the safety net for working New Zealanders. Continue reading “Beehive beneficence brings some cheer to workers made redundant by Covid-19 – but then comes a chorus of carping” →
So just how effective were the different lockdown policies implemented by Europe’s diverse states?
Bloomberg has tried to make a comparison using an index complied by the Blavatnik School of Government at the University of Oxford. Continue reading “Let’s hope Europe’s economic policies are better than its approach to lockdown” →
Our good friends from Beijing are at it again. China has done a deal with the state of Victoria under its “Belt and Road” project.
Infrastructure and other projects are under consideration. This has fired up the Australian Federal government — and the United States.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, hardly China’s closest friend in the US administration, has promised action against Canberra should telecommunications become involved.
The US and several western countries have blocked the Chinese telco manufacturer Huawei from involvement in 5G developments for government agencies, notably Defence.
NZ has taken the same approach following detailed examination by the GCSB. The problem stems from a Chinese 2017 law which requires companies to liaise with the many Chinese intelligence agencies and share any information gathered.
What concerns the US and Australia – and is being monitored from Wellington – are the Chinese tactics. Beijing went direct, it didn’t work through the Commonwealth Government.
We have been here before. Continue reading “China bypasses the govt in Canberra to engage in an infrastructural flirtation with Victoria” →