Oh, look. David Clark is still Minister of Health and he is drawing our attention to his continued involvement in matters related to Covid-19.
He is displaying an admirable concern for health workers, too, many of whom would be among the exhausted group of people found to be under-resourced and over-stressed.
Clark yesterday announced the government is prioritising its latest investment in personal protective equipment (or PPE) for frontline health workers, including staff at managed isolation and quarantine facilities.
A ministerial colleague, Workplace Relations Minister Iain Lees-Galloway, had something to say about worker safety, too.
He has announced that protections for workers who are employees of one employer but are working under the direction of another business or organisation have come into force. This closes a gap in legislation that made the personal grievance process inaccessible for some workers. Continue reading “Govt says workplace safety looms large in its considerations and health workers are given PPE assurances”
When three former prime ministers condemn a policy, you suspect it might be worth a closer look.
So it is with the announcement by Boris Johnson of a seemingly-innocuous machinery of government tweak – the merging of Britain’s Department for International Development into the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Continue reading “Britain’s dash for good government (or the difficulty of reversing bad government)”
Covid-19 is a disaster for the US, and for many other countries — but it has sent revenues for Auckland-based F&P Healthcare soaring. Investors in the company were ecstatic this week when the company posted a boomer profit of $287m and forecast an even better one in the current year. The share price has soared 102% in the past 12 months.
It’s a performance the country as a whole should celebrate, for more than 80% of the revenue is in US dollars.
Operating revenue was $1.26bn, up 18% over last year. Net profit rose 37% over the previous year.
The increase in revenue was largely driven by growth in the use of the company’s OptiflowTM nasal high flow therapy, demand for products to treat Covid-19 patients, and strong hospital hardware sales throughout the year. Continue reading “F&P Healthcare’s increased profit shows Covid-19 has a bright side (for some) but big spending on R&D pays off, too”
When the Wall Street Journal, once the house-magazine for the old Republican Party, chides President Donald Trump for not having an agenda for his second term, the GOP should be ringing alarm bells.
The polls aren’t any more promising – a weekend New York Times poll has Joe Biden ahead of Trump 50% to 35%. Other polls are showing the over-65s, who tend to vote for the Republicans, are swinging to Biden.
Trump is unfazed – or so he says. He has a “good team” around him and his next term would see more of the same, rebuilding the economy.
But Trump is not a strategic thinker and his ratings have fallen to 40% or below the levels recorded by presidents George H.W. Bush and Jimmy Carter, the last two Presidents who failed to win a second term.
The Journal says with the November 4 election only four months away, voters know Trump well and he has reverted to his worst form. Continue reading “Polls show Biden well ahead of Trump – but don’t forget the role of the Electoral College in presidential elections”
Latest from the Beehive –
Other than highlighting a further flow of public fundings to the beneficiaries of selected government handouts and “investments”, the Beehive Bugle Brigade had but one item of news to share with us at the weekend.
It came from Megan Wood in her Housing portfolio, although its purpose (according to the headline) was to assure us the Government has strengthened the managed isolation system.
The press statement told of the completion of a review of the Managed Isolation and Quarantine system, commissioned just over a week ago to identify and understand current and emerging risks to ensure the end-to-end Managed Isolation and Quarantine process is robust.
But don’t believe what you read in the headlines.
The strengthening (according to the text beneath the headline) has not been completed. Rather,
- The report on the MIQ review tells how the government can strengthen the managed isolation system, reduce the room for error and continue to keep COVID-19 at the border and out of our communities; and
- The government is responding with measures to address all the issues identified by the review.
Continue reading “Review finds quarantine system is under stress, under-staffed and ill-co-ordinated – but don’t count on finding a minister to accept responsibility”
Something interesting at last in the negotiations between Britain and the EU on post-Brexit trade arrangements.
Without anyone claiming responsibility, a proposal is being floated that British exporters might retain tariff-free access to Europe’s markets, but with Europe retaining the right to re-impose tariffs if the UK changes its internal market rules.
The fact this idea has emerged suggests there is some movement. Continue reading “Europe (or the UK) changing tune in trade negotiations?”
The Ardern government, adding a fresh policy pile-up to the heap it has accumulated, has been busy re-defining the core principle of ministerial responsibility.
Health Minister David Clark has joined Transport Minister Phil Twyford in the “look, no hands” brigade, as he shrugs off responsibility for failing to ensure the government’s strict border protocols as agreed by Cabinet were implemented.
And Twyford, adding the failure to deliver Labour’s key 2017 election pledge to build Auckland’s light rail by 2021 to his KiwiBuild performance, must still be laughing as he draws his ministerial salary and looks forward to another term, after being promoted to number four on Labour’s list.
The consequence is headlines such as “Phil Twford, Minister of embarrassing failures” and “David Clark throws Ashley Bloomfield under a bus, while Bloomfield looks on”.
Not quite the sort Labour will cherish as it goes into a general election campaign.
Point of Order, in an earlier post, noted what is emerging in NZ as a redefinition of leadership: Ardern is there to lead, not to take responsibility. This defies all previous conventions in a parliamentary democracy.
This is now being refined for ministers, too. They are there to get Cabinet sign-off on measures, but not to take responsibility when a programme is not fulfilled. Continue reading “How “responsibility” is being redefined on Ardern’s watch – first at the top, and now at ministerial level”
Latest from the Beehive –
Our immediate reaction was to be grateful on learning from a Beehive press statement headline that the government is Protecting Kiwis with stronger financial supervision
Our second reaction was to wonder exactly how it intends strengthening this supervision.
The answer is that a new five-year funding agreement with the Reserve Bank will provide it with an annual average budget of $115 million, up $35 million from this financial year.
The bank expects staff levels to rise 58% to 468 during that period. To do what?
Not only does the government intend protecting our financial wellbeing, however. It also aims to boost the finances of some people by introducing a law change to make it easier for forgotten funds in institutional accounts to be returned to their rightful owners.
Revenue Minister Stuart Nash has introduced an amendment to the Unclaimed Money Act 1971. It will update the rules controlling forgotten sums of money held by banks or other financial institutions and professional bodies.
The long list of institutions which hold money on behalf of clients includes banks and building societies, lawyers’ trust accounts, sharebrokers, real estate agents, auctioneers, insurance companies, motor vehicle dealers and company liquidators. Continue reading “Govt will help us find forgotten money – it will also enable the RBNZ to hire more staff to (hopefully) protect our finances”
Excess mortality in Europe has fallen in recent weeks, to the point where fewer deaths are occurring across the continent than you would expect at this time of the year. This doesn’t mean that Covid deaths aren’t occurring or that the problem has disappeared. It does mean it’s in a different phase.
And you could say Europe’s governments are converging on an approach which is looking more and more like that of Sweden’s – that is governments targeting a more limited range of specific public health measures, modifying policy in light of outcomes, and relying more on an informed public to make a sensible trade off between economic (and social) activity and safety-related social distancing. Continue reading “Might Europe’s Covid policy be converging on – er – Sweden”
How many Ministers does it take to release press releases to express the government’s delight at a hosting decision in the sporting domain that should benefit New Zealand?
Three, when we last checked.
No – four, because one of the statements was issued jointly in the names of our Jacinda Ardern and Aussie Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
Another statement was issued jointly by Sport and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson and Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford.
It took just one Minister, David Parker, to whoop about the Resource Management Amendment Bill passing its third and final reading in Parliament.
The legislation reduces complexity, increase certainty in the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) and makes significant improvements to environmental outcomes, the Environment Minister said.
It supports the Government’s Essential Freshwater package with an accelerated process for regional freshwater plan changes that will implement the new National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2020.
It also introduces mandatory and enforceable farm environment plans and requires fertiliser sales to be reported on a regional basis.
Don’t expect farmers to share Parker’s delight. Continue reading “NZ taxpayers are kicking in up to $25m for Women’s World Cup – how much the economy can expect to score is unstated”