Latest from the Beehive
Hot off the press, as we were preparing this Beehive bulletin, came a statement from Iain Lees-Galloway which had not been posted on the Beehive website. It came hard on the heels of a statement from the PM which announced Lees-Galloway has been dismissed and her ministerial team had been reshuffled.
Carmel Sepuloni will become the Minister for ACC, Andrew Little will become the Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety and Kris Faafoi will become Minister for Immigration.
New Zealand First will be disappointed. Winston Peters at the weekend had declared his party’s special interest in the Immigration portfolio.
But what prompted the ministerial reshuffle?
It transpires the PM had been given cause to question the hapless Lees-Galloway and her Minister of Workplace Relations and Safety had confirmed a consensual relationship with someone who had previously worked in his office and had been based in one of the agencies in his ministerial bailiwick.
The PM said:
“The Minister has shown a lack of judgment over a period of 12 months.
“In undertaking this relationship he has opened himself up to accusations of improperly using his office.
“He has not modelled the behaviour I expect as a Minister that is in charge of setting a standard and culture in work places.
“His actions have led me to lose my confidence in him as a Minister.
“The Minister takes full responsibility for his actions and accepts my decision. He has also decided not to stand at the next election.”
Lees-Galloway’s statement began:
“I accept the Prime Minister’s decision and apologise absolutely.”
Ha! Did he have a choice?
He proceeded to acknowledge:
“I have acted completely inappropriately in my position and can not continue as a Minister.
Well, no. The PM had sacked him.
He went on:
“I have apologised to my family for letting them down. Please appreciate their privacy.
“I also apologise to anyone who has been hurt by my actions.”
No further comment will be made today, he said.
Chris Hipkins – who became Minister of Health, adding to his Education duties, after David Clark resigned – has not been given even more responsibilities.
But he did pop up on the Beehive website to announce the government has moved to ensure New Zealanders continue to get access to the medicines they need, while at the same time investing more in contact tracing and other COVID-19 health responses.
Total investments worth $302.6 million were covered by this announcement:
- $150 million for medicines and medical devices through PHARMAC
- $50 million for PPE
- $35 million for oxygen supply ($25 million of which is capital, with $10 million operational funding)
- $30 million for the National Close Contact Service
- $14.6 million for telehealth services
- $23 million to develop the National Immunisation Solution ($14 million of operational funding and $9 million capital)
The only other new Beehive statement at time of writing came from Biosecurity and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor.
It was a progress report on New Zealand’s world-first effort to eradicate the cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis, saying the number of infected properties dropping to new lows, three years to the day since it was first detected in New Zealand.
Current situation (as at 21 July 2020)
- 250 total confirmed properties – 4 active, 246 cleared
- 58 dairy, 137 beef, 55 other
- 69 North Island, 181 South Island
- 157,854 animals culled
- 1,517,203 tests completed
- $166 million compensation paid
New Zealand’s world-first effort to eradicate the cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis has made significant progress with the number of infected properties dropping to new lows, three years to the day since it was first detected in New Zealand.
The Government has moved to ensure New Zealanders continue to get access to the medicines they need, while at the same time investing more in contact tracing and other COVID-19 health responses.