When we first checked the Beehive website for press statements this morning, we found just one announcement – from the Deputy PM – had been posted since September 19. His news was that the Coalition Government has committed to invest $27 million in Covid-19 vaccine development through the global COVAX Facility.
This initial investment of $27 million is part of the allocation the Government announced in August from the Cocid-19 Response and Recovery Fund.
Peters grandly declared:
“The agreement will ensure that New Zealand receives enough vaccines to cover up to 50 per cent of the population of New Zealand and the Realm, which includes Tokelau, Cook Islands and Niue.”
But whoa. Hadn’t the PM announced that Auckland will be lowered to Alert Level 2 this week while the rest of the country has been lowered to Alert Level 1?
Indeed. You can hear her deliver the good news here, via RNZ, but there was no written statement.
Since our morning check several more announcements have been posted on the Beehive website, including changes to various Covid-related programmes –
- The Government has relaxed the rules for border entry for a limited number of veterinarians, deep sea fishing crew, as well as agricultural and horticultural machinery operators.
- The Supplementary Seasonal Employment (SSE) visa will be automatically given to around 11,000 working holiday visa holders in New Zealand with visas expiring between 1 November 2020 and 31 March 2021. These visas will allow them to work in horticulture and viticulture roles, where there are not enough New Zealanders available to do this work.
- All Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme workers stranded in New Zealand who have been granted a more flexible limited visa to be able to work part-time and do non-RSE work will be able to ‘re-enter’ the RSE scheme and work for an RSE employer with 30 hours per week average pay guaranteed.
- Eligibility criteria for the Covid-19 Leave Support Scheme is expanding to support more workers. The changes will cover those who have been told or recommended to self-isolate and can’t work from home. Payments for the scheme will now cover a two-week period (the amount of time most people are required to remain in self-isolation).
Meanwhile the government has extended the kindliness fostered by Jacinda Ardern to Karl and Alison Dodds, a Christchurch couple. The Crown will not appeal the Court of Appeal decision in the Dodds v Southern Response case.
This kindness could prove much more costly for taxpayers than is immediately apparent.
Southern Response will pay the damages awarded by the court to the Dodds “shortly” and the Crown is already meeting their legal costs for this appeal.
“The Government wants to find a fair and enduring resolution for the outstanding Canterbury earthquake claims, and that means being able to use the findings of the Court of Appeal to help inform and respond to other policyholders who are in a similar situation to Mr and Mrs Dodds.
“The court decision provides us with greater clarity on this issue but as we are now in the pre-election period decisions on options for how Southern Response could best respond to other affected policyholders will take place in earnest post-election,” Grant Robertson said.
A year ago Robertson’s position as Minister responsible for the Earthquake Commission was very different. He announced the State-owned Southern Response would appeal the court ruling that set a precedent which potentially could cost the Government millions of dollars.
The High Court had found the Crown’s earthquake claims company had engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct which resulted in the Dodds accepting a $895,000 settlement on their quake-damaged Huntsbury house and buying a replacement home. The Dodds later learned Southern Response had withheld a fuller assessment which would have seen them paid about $200,000 more.
How many similar claims will be triggered by this case?
Finally, we checked on Peters’ whereabouts today. He was up on his home turf in Northland with his colleague, Shane Jones,
They jointly announcied the Provincial Growth Fund is investing nearly $30 million in 11 projects that will create immediate and long-term jobs and lift economic and social outcomes for Northland and its people.
The funding is a mix of loans and grants.
Rohe Produce Limited is one beneficiary. It will receive a loan of $14 million towards a $70 million project that will see an 8.9ha high-tech glasshouse built at Marsden Point to grow organic specialty tomatoes.
Latest from the Beehive
22 SEPTEMBER 2020
Eligibility criteria for the COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme is expanding to support more workers say Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Andrew Little and Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni.
The Government is putting in place a range of immigration policy changes to help fill labour shortages in key industries while ensuring New Zealanders, who have lost jobs due to COVID-19, have the chance to find new employment.
The Government has established class exceptions for border entry for a limited number of veterinarians, deep sea fishing crew, as well as agricultural and horticultural machinery operators.
The Crown will not appeal the Court of Appeal decision in the Dodds v Southern Response case, Grant Robertson announced today.
The Provincial Growth Fund is investing nearly $30 million in a diverse range of projects that will create immediate and long-term jobs and lift economic and social outcomes for
21 SEPTEMBER 2020
The Coalition Government has committed to invest $27 million in COVID-19 vaccine development through the global COVAX Facility, Foreign Minister Winston Peters announced today.