The Govt goes gunning (again) for Covid-19 – but Sage is stepping up the war on plastics, too

Latest from the Beehive

While the PM has declared a renewal of the war against Covid-19 and activated the government’s resurgence plan (watch this space for more), the Greens’ Eugenie Sage is stepping up the war on plastics.

The phase out of single-use plastic shopping bags had been successful, she declared. The Government now has plans to phase out more single-use and problem plastics to reduce waste and protect the environment.

The proposals are part of a consultation document ‘Reducing the impact of plastic on our environment’ launched today. This opened public consultation (until 4 November) on measures to to phase out –

  • some hard-to-recycle PVC and polystyrene packaging and oxo-degradable plastic products
  • seven single-use plastic items, including plastic straws, drink stirrers, produce bags, tableware (e.g. plastic plates, bowls, cutlery) and non-compostable fruit stickers.

According to the press statement, the Associate Minister for the Environment made the announcement at an event in Auckland to kick-start ecostore’s bottle recall scheme.  Point of Order is uncertain whether the renewed lockdown in Auckland called for this to be cancelled but whatever happened, Sage supported the assault on a new lot of plastics with a $200,000 grant from the Ministry for the Environment’s Waste Minimisation Fund.

The grant is intended to help ecostore to create New Zealand’s first high-density (HDPE) closed loop packaging return programme.

More information can be found here.

As Conservation Minister, Sage brought a much bigger lump of money to the party yesterday – and drew attention to another governance partnership – when she announced $34 million is being given to an iwi-Crown approach programme to restore the Raukūmara forest on the East Coast of the North Island.

The park is home to rare species such as whio/blue duck, kaka, kererū, and Hochstetter’s frog.

The funding, over four years, is part of the Government’s $1.3 billion Jobs for Nature programme to assist with economic recovery following the Covid-19 pandemic.

At least 23 jobs will be created initially, with another 18 seasonal FTEs expected for deer and goat culling. The work will include pest control, trapping, restoration planning, cultural advice, carbon monitoring and biodiversity monitoring.

Housing Minister Nanaia Mahuta meanwhile was promoting another partnership, the “MAIHI” programme, which she said is a kaupapa Māori approach that drives a system change to give effect and impact on Māori housing outcomes. The approach has been developed with Māori and iwi housing experts and sector leaders.

Budget 2020 invested $40 million towards delivering housing outcomes for Māori through MAIHI.

Funding will be used to accelerate the supply of quality housing stock for whānau through supporting the delivery of more affordable housing options, as well as supporting iwi and Māori providers to strengthen their capability to work directly with whānau and support community based housing projects.

Notes to editors with this press statement tell us:

MAIHI is a framework for action that drives a partnership approach with Māori as central partners.  MAIHI applies Māori principles, and supports Government agencies working together more cohesively and drawing on the strengths of all players across the system.   This provides the best opportunity, at an accelerated pace, to deliver positive impacts for Māori and communities.

MAIHI drives both urgent responses and longer-term system review and reset actions to address critical gaps for Māori across the housing continuum.  Immediate priorities are decreasing homelessness and increasing housing security.

MAIHI considers whānau and kāinga (homes) rather than houses.  This means considering the whole needs and aspirations of whānau as we deliver housing solutions – houses, access to jobs and services, cultural wellbeing and place-making.

The foundation of MAIHI is a set of kaupapa Māori principles identified with Māori as particularly applicable to housing.  These kaupapa Māori principles sit alongside the values and principles that iwi, hāpu, whānau and kaupapa Māori organisations have at their heart and drive kaupapa Māori approaches that are relevant to Māori and whānau at the core of housing crisis.

Māori Crown partnership is built into MAIHI through the MAIHI Partnership Programme and regular MAIHI Whare Wānanga.

Here’s what has emerged from the Beehive in the past 24 hours or so …

12 AUGUST 2020

Government announces plan to tackle problem plastics and seven single-use plastic items

Following the success of the phase out of single-use plastic shopping bags, the Government now has plans to phase out more single-use and problem plastics to reduce waste and protect the environment announced Associate Minister for the Environment Eugenie Sage.

 11 AUGUST 2020

PM comments on Auckland COVID-19 case

After 102 days we have our first cases of Covid-19 outside of a Managed Isolation or Quarantine facility in New Zealand.

Significant investment in Raukūmara Pae Maunga to prevent Raukūmara forest collapse

An iwi-Crown approach programme to restore the Raukūmara forest on the East Coast of the North Island and boost employment opportunities for whānau, particularly rangatahi/young people, will receive $34 million funding, Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage has announced.

New partnership central to delivering more Māori housing

Government agencies and partners are working closer together to provide more Māori Housing through the Te MAIHI o te Whare Māori – the Māori and Iwi Housing Innovation Framework for Action (MAIHI).

Manawatū Gorge replacement highway drives forward

Site work is soon to begin on Te Ahu a Turanga: Manawatū Tararua Highway, the project to replace the former SH3 route through the Manawatū Gorge, Transport Minister Phil Twyford said today.

Pacific Ministers meet to discuss regional economic priorities

The Pacific Islands Forum Economic Ministers Meeting (FEMM) begins today and will focus on the major economic and social impacts of COVID-19 on the Pacific.

Formal apology and payment to George Nepata

Cabinet has approved a formal apology and ex gratia payment to former soldier George Nepata, announced Defence Minister Ron Mark.

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