Latest from the Beehive –
Hard on the heels of the government promising help for the Southland economy in the wake of Rio Tinto’s decision to close the Tiwai Point aluminium smelter, it was announcing the delivery of more money to the North, at the other end of the country.
Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage announced a somewhat modest $361,447 grant from the Ministry for the Environment’s Waste Minimisation Fund (WMF) for waste reduction and recycling programmes in Kaipara.
Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones (we suspect he wouldn’t bother getting out of bed to announce a sum of that size) more grandly announced a multi-million-dollar investment in Whangārei for infrastructure projects:
“More than 200 jobs are expected to be created through the $26 million investment from the Government’s rejuvenation package aimed at kick-starting the post COVID-19 economic rebuild.
“The funding is an investment in the wellbeing infrastructure of Whangārei, covering a group of projects identified by the region as priorities. They include a cultural centre, new mixed transport pathways and sports and trades training facilities.
“Building infrastructure is a key component of our economic recovery plan. It creates jobs and provides much-needed economic stimulus. Money invested now will reap rewards later as we take care of our communities.”
Another big announcement came from Housing Minister Megan Woods in connection with her job in charge of Covid-19 quarantine management.
She proclaimed she has called in the cops – as if they don’t have enough to do – following a second incident in which a person escaped from a managed isolation facility.
She chided the offenders:
“The actions of some individuals who choose to break the very clear rules to stay within the facilities means that more resourcing is needed to protect other New Zealanders from the risk they may present.
“This behaviour is incredibly disappointing, but we are determined to maintain the freedoms we enjoy as New Zealanders in one of the few countries in the world who are free of community transmission of COVID.
And then she got to the nitty-gritty:
By tomorrow there will be one police officer stationed at each facility 24/7.
Extra senior security staff will also be added to each facility and security fencing has been boosted.
She seems to have borrowed an idea from Donald Trump too. All outdoor physical security around facilities that require fencing, including exercise and smoking areas, would have 6 foot high fencing installed by the end of yesterday.
Woods also outlined a strengthened process for managing exemptions, saying early release of returnees will only happen after very careful consideration.
The bizarre implication of this is that careful consideration has not previously been given.
Another press release came as a surprise. It was issued in the name of Winston Peters, Deputy PM and Minister of Foreign Affairs, and said the government is “reviewing the settings of its relationship with Hong Kong”.
China’s decision to pass a new national security law for Hong Kong had fundamentally changed the environment for international engagement there, Peters said.
“New Zealand remains deeply concerned at the imposition of this legislation on Hong Kong.”
“Accordingly, the Government has directed officials to review all of New Zealand’s policy settings with respect to Hong Kong to determine the appropriate nature of our cooperation going forward.
“This will be a deliberate, considered review across all of our settings, including extradition arrangements, controls on exports of strategic goods, and travel advice.”
The surprise was that Peters’ office had emailed us earlier in the day to advise us he was taking a short stint of medical leave this week after experiencing food poisoning symptoms and dehydration and had been advised to undergo a surgical procedure whilst Parliament is in recess.
“I remain confident of a quick return to work – as well as being fighting fit for the election campaign, which is typically physically gruelling,” said Mr Peters.
A second statement told us the keyhole surgery procedure had been successful.
The unexpected timing of the medical leave means the New Zealand First Party will combine its campaign launch with the Party AGM on Sunday, July 19.
But New Zealand First has been campaigning – it seems – every since becoming a coalition partner in the Ardern government and the good people of Northland should need no reminding that Shane Jones will be standing as a candidate in their patch.
His announcement yesterday advised that Whangārei District Council will receive $16m for its mixed transport construction programme to provide a safer network of transport paths throughout Whangārei city, including a contribution to upgrading Port Nikau bridge and roundabout.
The Hihiaua Cultural Centre will receive $3m towards construction costs. The centre aims to be a showcase of Tai Tokerau Māori arts, culture and heritage.
The Whangārei Boys High School Engineering Academy will receive $1m towards the construction of a purpose-built engineering facility that will enable industry-focused training on site for students throughout the Tai Tokerau region.
A total of $6m will be divided between three wellbeing infrastructure projects. The Northland Rugby Union will receive $1.5m to enable it to complete building its clubrooms on Pohe Island, putting the club on track to help host the Women’s Rugby World Cup in September 2021.
The remainder of the funding will go towards the development of a bike park at William Fraser Memorial Park on Pohe Island ($2m), and the construction of a recreation facility at Ruakaka ($2.5m) with indoor courts, gym, lounge, kitchen, office, and changing rooms which will benefit the area’s growing population.
“This funding for Whangārei will provide the community and wider region with confidence that the Government is backing them in this challenging economic environment by creating new jobs and opportunities,” Shane Jones said.
The rejuvenation funding is part of the $3 billion infrastructure package in the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund, announced by Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Shane Jones last week. The fund is expected to deliver more than 20,000 jobs across New Zealand and unlock investment with a project value of more than $5 billion.
The $361,447 grant from the Ministry for the Environment’s Waste Minimisation Fund (WMF) Sustainable Kaipara announced by Sage will be pumped into two projects.
- “Closing the Loop” will allow Sustainable Kaipara to work with schools, kura, businesses and community groups to audit and assess their waste, develop and implement waste improvement plans and measure outcomes.
The total cost of the three year project is $345,147, with the WMF funding $315,147 and the Kaipara District Council contributing $30,000.
- “Kaipara District compost options assessment and feasibility study and trial” allows Sustainable Kaipara to conduct a feasibility study and pilot trial for a hot compost facility in Mangawhai. Currently there are no commercial compost or green waste facilities in the Mangawhai area.
The total cost of the one year project is $47,500, with the WMF funding $46,300.
The Waste Minimisation Fund (WMF) is funded through the waste disposal levy that was introduced under the Waste Minimisation Act 2008.
Fifty per cent of the money collected from the levy is distributed to councils to spend in accordance with their Waste Management and Minimisation Plans. The remainder (minus administration costs) is used for the WMF, which is managed by the Ministry for the Environment.
The purpose of the Act is to encourage waste minimisation and a decrease in waste disposal.
A list of projects that have been awarded WMF funding can be viewed on the Ministry for the Environment’s websitewww.mfe.govt.nz/more/funding/waste-minimisation-fund/projects-funded-date
9 JULY 2020
Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters has announced that the New Zealand Government is reviewing the settings of its relationship with Hong Kong.
9 JULY 2020
Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones has announced details of a multimillion-dollar investment in Whangārei for infrastructure projects that will help it recover from the economic
9 JULY 2020
Following a second incident in which a person escaped from a managed isolation facility, security is being enhanced, including more police presence onsite, Minister Megan Woods said.
9 JULY 2020
Waste reduction and recycling programmes in Kaipara are set to get a boost with Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage today announcing a $361,447 grant from the Ministry for the Environment’s Waste Minimisation Fund (WMF) Sustainable Kaipara.