Govt makes it easier to care for new-born babies – but how does this ease a challenging demand for resources such as water?

Latest from the Beehive –

The Beehive Bugle Brigade doubled the blare about the baby boon, which is being boosted from today.

A statement from the PM and Finance Minister Grant Robertson announced July 1 marks progress for workers, families

Iain Lees-Galloway, speaking as Minister of Workplace Relations and Safety, more baldly highlighted the cost to taxpayers with a statement headed Six months with baby and $20 more a week for new parents

Lees-Galloway focused on the increase to paid parental leave, which kicks in today.  This provides another four weeks, taking New Zealand up to a full six months (26 weeks, up from 22 weeks) leave for new parents, and the maximum weekly payment will increase by $20 a week.

Each year the parental leave payment is adjusted to reflect the rise in the average wage. The parental leave payment accordingly will be raised from $585.80 to $606.46 a week, before tax, from today.

The minimum rate for self-employed persons will increase to $189 a week, equal to 10 hours of adult the minimum wage.

More information about paid parental leave is available on the Employment NZ website.

The statement from the PM and Minister of Finance covered a broader range of policies to provide more jobs and more family time with newborns.  Besides the extension of paid parental leave, they mentioned:

  • Free apprenticeships opening to tens of thousands
  • Pay boost for early childhood teachers kicks in for up to 17,000 qualified teachers
  • Farm Debt Mediation scheme begins operating
  • Cheaper building levy saving homeowners and businesses money

The statement includes explanatory notes about each of those programmes.

Of course, each new-born baby (encouraged by the government’s willingness to help parents in the early months after birth) adds to a growing population, heaping more pressure on the country’s resources.

Auckland’s water shortage is among the consequences.

But good news – Environment Minister David Parker announced he has “called in” Auckland’s application to the Waikato Regional Council to take an extra 200 million litres of water a day from the lower reaches of the Waikato River for Auckland drinking water and other municipal uses.

The call-in means the application has been referred to a Board of Inquiry under Part 6AA of the Resource Management Act 1991.

“The future sources of drinking water for Auckland are a matter of national significance. The application obviously affects Auckland, but also other activities in the Waikato and the river itself,” David Parker said. 

‘The Inquiry will need to consider the viability of alternatives, including the treatment of storm and/ or waste water. Water taken for Auckland from the Waikato already includes treated water from outfalls from storm water and treated waste water upstream of its take.” 

The Board of Inquiry of three people will be led by a current or retired Environment Court judge.

Auckland City’s municipal water is managed by its subsidiary, Watercare Services Limited.

Watercare has had a consent to take 150 million litres a day (MLD) from the Waikato River since 1998. As a result of progressive upgrades to their infrastructure the full 150 MLD has been able to be used since 2019.

An application for 200 million litres was filed seven years ago, with the expectation that the additional water would be needed from about 2030. The application has not yet been heard.

There are competing claims to limited additional water available in summer months. Some competing claims for water, including renewals, rank earlier in time under the first-in-first-served principle under the RMA.

This year’s drought has caused low inflows into Auckland’s reservoirs, which earlier this year had dropped to 45 per cent of capacity, much lower than the 80 per cent full historic average for this time of year. Although recent rain has increased storage levels to 55 per cent, concerns remain that next summer there could be a water storage if rainfall is low between now and then.

Good management including water metering has reduced per capita water usage in Auckland.  But population growth is increasing total water consumption.

Ah. Population growth.  The very thing that is fostered by policies designed to require taxpayers to help parents bring new babies into the world.

Working for Families provides further government assistance aimed at helping low and middle income families cope with the costs of raising children. It offers tax credits, accommodation and childcare assistance, as we learn on the Inland Revenue website.

But the thousands of people expected to come to Auckland for the Apec conference late next year are not coming, so they won’t be heaping further pressure on the water supply.

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker contributed to the outflow from the Beehive Bugle Brigade by announcing that New Zealand’s hosting of APEC in 2021 will go ahead using virtual digital platforms.

Has anyone thought of using this platform for the America’s Cup?

Speech

1 JULY 2020

Speech by the Minister of Defence to the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs

E ngā mana, e ngā reo, e ngā karangatanga maha, tēnā koutou

Hon Ron Mark

Defence

Release

1 JULY 2020

Six months with baby and $20 more a week for new parents

The Government’s increase to paid parental leave kicks in today with another 4 weeks taking New Zealand up to a full 6 months (26 weeks, up from 22 weeks) leave for new parents, and the maximum weekly payment will increase by $20pw, Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says.

Hon Iain Lees-Galloway

Workplace Relations and Safety

Release

1 JULY 2020

Statement on passage of national security law for Hong Kong

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters today expressed the New Zealand Government’s deep disappointment at the passage by China’s National People’s Congress Standing Committee of a national security law for Hong Kong.

Rt Hon Winston Peters

Deputy Prime Minister

Foreign Affairs

Release

1 JULY 2020

July 1 marks progress for workers, families

More jobs and more family time with newborns are the centrepiece of a suite of Government initiatives coming into effect today.

Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern Hon Grant Robertson

Prime Minister

Finance

Release

30 JUNE 2020

Auckland water consent referred to Board of Inquiry

Environment Minister David Parker has today “called in” Auckland’s application to the Waikato Regional Council to take an extra 200 million litres of water a day from the lower reaches of the Waikato River for Auckland drinking water and other municipal uses.

Hon David Parker

Environment

Release

30 JUNE 2020

New Zealand to host virtual APEC in 2021

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker announced today that New Zealand’s hosting of APEC in 2021 will go ahead using virtual digital platforms.

Rt Hon Winston Peters Hon David Parker

Deputy Prime Minister

Foreign Affairs

Trade and Export Growth

Release

30 JUNE 2020

Māori union leader appointed to Infrastructure Commission board

Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones has welcomed the appointment of Maurice Davis and his deep infrastructure and construction experience to the board of the Infrastructure Commission.

Hon Shane Jones

Infrastructure

Release

30 JUNE 2020

Matakana Link Road construction kicks off and drives jobs

The start of construction on a new link road between Matakana Road and State Highway 1 will create jobs and support the significant population growth expected in the Warkworth area, Transport Minister Phil Twyford and Mayor Phil Goff announced today.

Hon Phil Twyford

Transport

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