A new trough provides succour only for groups supporting women; another (by worsening an imbalance!) tackles the race mix in forestry

The government has filled a brand-new trough for redistributing our money to people it regards as worthy.

Worthiness – of course – increasingly is being defined by Beehive social engineers by gender and race when it comes to sorting out beneficiaries.

The new trough and its $1 million swill (but not for boars) were announced during the holiday weekend along with an invitation to oinkers to get their snouts into an existing trough.

Oh – and you can forget about slurping into this second trough, too, unless you are a woman or a Maori.  Shane Jones is bothered that Māori make up “only” 22 per cent of the forestry workforce and the Government has given him a big bucket of money to go and lift their numbers.

A third announcement was that the Government will invest $10 million from the One Billion Trees Fund for large-scale planting “to provide jobs in communities and improve the environment.”

Access to the brand-new trough has been designed to ensure boars get neither a look-in, nor a lick-in.

The announcements proclaimed:  organisations that support women are invited to apply to a new $1,000,000 fund as part of the Government’s COVID-19 response.

“We know women, and organisations that support women, have been affected by COVID-19,” said Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter.

It’s hard to  quarrel with this because – unless we have missed something – everyone has been affected by Covid-19.

“This new money will ensure funding for groups that support women and women’s rights,” said Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter.

“Issues related to gender equality can take a backseat during emergencies and crises, and this results in worse outcomes for women and girls. Greater loss of income, increased instances of domestic violence, and increased caring responsibilities all impact on women.

“Many NGOs that support women have reduced income and volunteer numbers due to the impacts of COVID-19, and at the same time, they have many more people needing their support and/or services.”

Can the Green Party’s Genter make this package any more discriminatory (“positive discrimination”, we hear her bleat).  Of course she can.

“I particularly want to encourage groups that work with wāhine Māori to apply.”

Organisations will be able to apply for funding to support the government priorities of healthy and safe communities, reducing family and sexual violence, and improving child wellbeing.

“This funding supports NGOs and women’s organisations to be sustainable and make the difference we need in communities to empower women and girls in Aotearoa New Zealand,” says Julie Anne Genter.

Applications will be available for the fund from the Ministry for Women from now and will close on Monday 15 June.

More information on the fund can be found at https://women.govt.nz/news/covid-19-and-women/covid-19-community-fund

The other big weekend announcement which favours women and Maori (not necessarily in that order) came from Forestry Minister Shane Jones.

He declared that applications have opened for 2021 Ngā Karahipi Uru Rākau – Forestry Scholarships, which will support more Māori and women to pursue careers in forestry science.

His bizarre reasoning:

According to the recently released Forestry and Wood Processing Workforce Action Plan, Māori make up only 22 per cent of the forestry workforce …

Only 22 per cent?

Is Jones aiming for a 50:50 ratio to reflect the treaty “partnership” that strongly influences policy nowadays?

Let’s not overlook Maori accounting for “only” 16 per cent of the population  (although we could spend a great deal of time arguing about the criteria applied by Stats NZ to determine this percentage).

There is a labour market issue – Maori comprise just 12.6% of the total workforce.  But Maori participation in the forestry workforce palpably is not an issue in percentage terms.

The same action plan which is guiding Jones reveals that only 17 per cent of the forestry workforce is female.

This raises different questions. We must wonder if the percentage of women in forestry science isn’t much higher than 17 per cent, and that the overall industry percentage results from just a few women venturing out with forestry gangs to topple trees with chain saws.

Conversely, there may be few Maori in forestry science.

Whether the imbalance is imagined or otherwise,  Jones is sure the Forestry Scholarships will help address it.

 “Whether these graduates become forestry scientists, forest engineers or pursue the range of other careers in forestry, the scholarships are making the sector more diverse.”

Eight scholarship recipients will receive $8000 a year for four years to help with tuition and living costs while studying forestry science degrees at the University of Canterbury – either a Bachelor of Forestry Science or Bachelor of Engineering with Honours, majoring in Forestry Engineering. Scholars will also gain experience through paid annual summer internships in the forestry sector.

More information can be found on Te Uru Rākau’s website

 Jones popped up again yesterday to join Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor in announcing the Government will invest $10 million from the One Billion Trees Fund for large-scale planting to provide jobs in communities and improve the environment.

New, more flexible funding criteria for applications will help up to 10 catchment groups plant landscapes at a whole of catchment scale, enabling them to achieve the greatest environmental outcomes.

The funding changes are designed to increase planting and improve waterways.

Catchment groups will also be able to apply for funding for associated costs such as land preparation, labour and pest control.

The revised funding criteria have been expanded to include suitable plants such as grasses and shrubs, and planting of areas of less than 1ha, to support planting along waterways and in wetlands.

The funding is in addition to the sum up to $100m from the Provincial Growth Fund which Jones announced recently for waterway fencing, riparian planting and stock water reticulation.

Alongside this work, the Ministry for Primary Industries is working with a wide range of catchment groups around New Zealand to support their work to lift freshwater quality and farming practice, Damien O’Connor said.

“We have a goal to reach up to 2200 farmers over the next three years.

“Catchment groups provide wonderful opportunities for famers to support and learn from each other. They also provide an avenue for collaborative, grass-roots action to resolve local issues, including improving sustainability and improving water quality.

MPI’s extension work is funded through the $229m Productive and Sustainable Land Use package announced in Budget 2019, which includes more than $35m for on-the-ground support via extension services.

This package has supported a group of 1000 Southland farmers and growers through funding the Thriving Southland project and 300 King Country farmers through funding to King Country River Care.

More are in the pipeline.  Watch this space.

 Latest from the Beehive

Release

1 JUNE 2020

Applications open for forestry scholarships

Applications have opened for 2021 Ngā Karahipi Uru Rākau – Forestry Scholarships, which will support more Māori and women to pursue careers in forestry science, says Forestry Minister Shane Jon

Hon Shane Jones

Forestry

Release

31 MAY 2020

Wetlands and waterways gain from 1BT funding

The Government will invest $10 million from the One Billion Trees Fund for large-scale planting to provide jobs in communities and improve the environment, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor

Hon Damien O’Connor Hon Shane Jones

Agriculture

Forestry

Release

31 MAY 2020

New fund for women now open

Organisations that support women are invited to apply to a new $1,000,000 fund as part of the Government’s COVID-19 response.

Hon Julie Anne Genter

Women

 

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