When the cause is waste minimisation, it’s appropriate that the minister isn’t too lavish with her handouts

The Point of Order Trough Monitor sniffed out the handouts of small sums of public money in the press statement from Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage, when she announced the Government is stepping up action to deal with environmentally harmful products – including plastic packaging, tyres and e-waste – before they become waste.

We say “small sums”, but only because they are paltry when stacked against the multi-million-dollar grants which the Government increasingly is dishing out in the name of job creation and restoration of the economy as the general election nears.

Auckland-based TechCollect will receive a $320,000 grant from the Waste Minimisation Fund for building on its successful e-waste pilot programme, expanding to more collection points and designing options for a regulated e-waste product stewardship scheme.

 “TechCollect represents product stewardship in action. TechCollect reduces the amount of waste ending up in landfills and the amount of raw materials needing to be mined by collecting electronic goods, such as computers and TVs at the end of their life and recovering valuable materials” said Eugenie Sage.

Sage made the announcement at E-Waste Solution’s new e-waste and plastics processing facility in Porirua where she announced a smaller sum – a $70,000 grant from the Ministry for the Environment’s Waste Minimisation Fund – for E-Waste Services to do a feasibility study on reducing e-waste plastic going to landfill.

The cause here, it should be noted, is waste minimisation.  We suggest Sage’s ministerial colleagues be encouraged to bear this in mind when they are deciding who should receive how much of the funds they are empowered to distribute.

Pacific Peoples Minister Aupito William Sio, on the other hand, was inviting people who meet certain ethnicity criteria to come and slurp at troughs under his ministerial management.

Pacific communities can apply for additional funds provided in Budget 2020, including the increased funding of $4.9 million over two years for the Toloa STEM Programme that targets increasing community participation, and a $3 million Community COVID-19 Fund over two years that targets supporting churches and volunteer groups to develop plans for the economic recovery and rebuild of Pacific families.

Sio summonsed his constituents to come and get their share:

“I have impressed upon Pacific groups during my nationwide online talanoa sessions that the Government will support Pacific peoples to develop their community plans and strategies for their economic recovery and rebuild, and these grants will assist with that.”

This is another way of saying the Government will take money from taxpayers (or, increasingly, borrow it for taxpayers to repay in the future) and hand it over to people who come up with a plausible plan for spending it.

He went on:

“It’s critical that we ensure Pacific peoples don’t miss out on the business, employment, educational and home ownership opportunities, and for all young people to seize the opportunities the digital economy offers, but Pacific peoples must take the lead in this.”

He wants Pacific communities

” … to collectively embrace STEM career pathways as the key that will open up doors for more prosperous and thriving Pacific families, and we’ll be looking to introduce the Arts into the Toloa STEM programme which will make it fun, create more innovation, and increase participation.

Pacific organisations which work with Pacific communities are encouraged to apply for funding to deliver STEM related activities. Funding options available are:

  • Grassroots Initiatives (grants up to $5000): This fund is for groups who have a new idea that they want to test and pilot;
  • Emerging initiatives (grants up to $20,000): This fund is for groups who have already tested ideas and have shown some good results in their own community. Funding requested under this category could be used to improve or scale up an idea;
  • Collaboration Initiatives (grants up to $50,000): This fund is for groups who have already tested ideas and have shown some good results in their community, and may look to collaborate with other community groups to improve or scale up an idea for the region, or across several regions or nationwide.
  • Further information here

Toloa Kenese Fund

  • The Toloa Kenese Fund will support (STEM) providers with grants up to $50,000 to deliver targeted Pacific programmes and workshops with primary, intermediate, and secondary schools, students, and parents to create opportunities for engagement to raise awareness and increase Pacific uptake of STEM subjects.
  • Initiatives or activities that is creative, innovative, have high impact and will lift STEM aspirations amongst our Pacific communities.
  • Further Information here

Community COVID-19 Fund

Under the Community COVID-19 Fund, Pacific groups can apply under the three categories below:

  • Grassroots Initiatives (grants up to $5,000): This is funding available for groups which have a new idea they want to test and pilot;
  • Acceleration Initiatives (grants up to $10,000): This funding is for an initiative which has already had a positive impact in the community, and you would like to improve it;
  • Lift off Initiatives (grants up to $50,000): This is funding for an initiative which has already had a positive impact in the community and you would like to collaborate with others to scale up or expand to deliver in other regions.

Further information here

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