While announcements on new policy or critiques of opposition policies flow from the Labour Party, the Beehive website in the past day or two has brought news of government spending decisions.
This has drawn attention to some of the array of troughs available for oinkers hungering for a financial lift.
The press officers engaged in this work, alas, have been much too busy to answer Point of Order’s questions to Finance Minister Grant Robertson – or even to acknowledge receipt of our emails.
We sought clarification about a figure Robertson used while mocking the Nats for bungling their fiscal costings …
“On Friday National threw out a desperate economic policy that included $4.7 billion of tax cuts that would give Judith Collins $4,000 at a time when New Zealand needs to be investing in services like health and education for our future.”
Is something missing, we inquired? $4000 of what?
We await information, too, about the Treasury’s establishment of a new team to provide a policy costing service to the political parties currently represented in Parliament. Has this team been established, for how long has it been operating, and which parties have used its services?
While we patiently hope for enlightenment, we can pass on news of government spending that has been blared from the Beehive.
- The Department of Conservation is investing $1.4 million to develop new predator lures attractive to a range of predators—rats, mustelids and feral cats—for use in traps and predator monitoring equipment such as tracking tunnels.
- Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis and Small Business Minister Stuart Nash have announced details of how $20 million digital capability funding set aside earlier this year will be allocated.
- A new $28.5 million Pacific Education Innovation Fund aims to support new and creative Pacific education practices (“as part of our COVID-19 response and recovery” – blah, blah, blah). The fund over four years will help educators, early learning services, schools, tertiary education providers and community groups “to support new innovative practices that respond to the curriculum and wellbeing needs of Pacific learners which have emerged or been made worse by COVID-19”.
Discussing the spending on pest control, Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage mentioned work led by Dr Michael Jackson in a University of Canterbury project to develop multi-species predator lures, effective for six to 12 months. The non-toxic lures will be made from compounds identified in foods and animals’ social odours, encased in a small portable device to slowly release over time.
The influence of different foods and social odours on the behaviour of seven predator species—stoats, ferrets and weasels, Norway, ship and kiore/Pacific rats, and feral cats—will be tested. Potential compounds will then be identified and tested, including blends of promising compounds.
Proven compounds will be evaluated in field trials with partner groups using a range of traps, tracking tunnels and emerging ‘smart’ monitoring devices capable of working remotely.
And yes – the government has a fancy name for the source of the money (if you glibly bypass the role of taxpayers). DOC’s “Tools to Market programme” will invest the $1.4m in the lures over three years.
The Government initially allocated this programme $700,000 a year over four years. Budget 2018 committed an extra $700,000 over four years (total $5.6 million).
There have been plenty of prospects keen on hogging into this swill. DOC received 56 applications for the current Tools to Market funding round after a call for registrations of interest in May 2019.
Five projects have previously been funded through Tools to Market in 2017 and 2018 and are in development including a long-life rat lure and PAWS® pest identification sensor pad.
Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis and Small Business Minister Stuart Nash announced details of how “$20 million digital capability funding” is being allocated.
The package includes:
- $10 million specifically for SMEs, announced in Budget 2020.
- $10 million announced in August as part of the Tourism Recovery Package: $5 million to boost digital capability in the tourism sector through existing digital enablement programmes, and $5 million for Qualmark to help operators develop strategies and skills.
Davis explained that recent Qualmark analysis of 700 tourism businesses found more than half needed support with digital capability.
“In the past, many smaller tourism businesses haven’t had to invest in strong digital marketing to find customers, because of the volume of international visitors and the role of travel agents and tour operators to bring people to their door.
“Tourism businesses are now pivoting towards the intrepid domestic traveller who likes to shop around online and book their own holiday, so operators now find their websites, booking systems and social media platforms need to be redeveloped or outsourced to a specialist provider as they feel they lack the capability and resources to take on the job themselves.”
This funding builds on the support the government is delivering through the “Tourism Transitions Programme“, which has provided business support and advice to over 1,500 tourism businesses impacted by COVID-19.
Then there’s the moneyh for Pacific education.
In 2020, $3.5m from the Pacific Education Innovation Fund will go towards supporting new and original wellbeing and curriculum initiatives in Pacific education. A further $2.5m is available for innovative initiatives in Pacific bilingual and immersion education in 2020.
Associate Education Minister Jenny Salesa mentioned the Pacific Support Fund, announced last week, which also offers new opportunities for Pacific learners.
“Alongside a number of new apprenticeship initiatives, it provides access to on-site learning services and ongoing educational and training pathways to help students transition into the workforce.”
Applications for the 2020 Innovation Fund opened yesterday and close on 6 November.
Salesa is keen to attract lots of snouts to this trough. She said Pacific groups, representatives from education providers in the early learning, schooling or tertiary education sector, researchers, academics, providers, and community organisations from across New Zealand are encouraged to apply.
Oh – and she noted that this funding is part of the $80.2m investment in Pacific Education through the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund, and supports the Action Plan for Pacific Education 2020-2030.
Latest from the Beehive
24 SEPTEMBER 2020
The Department of Conservation (DOC) is investing $1.4 million to develop new predator lures that would be game-changers for trapping and surveillance towards a predator-free Aotearoa.
New training and tools for digital commerce will give small businesses, especially in the tourism sector, the support they need to adapt and innovate in a COVID world. Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis and Small Business Minister Stuart Nash have announced details of how $20 million digital capability funding set aside earlier this year will be allocated.
23 SEPTEMBER 2020
Supporting new and creative Pacific education practices as part of our COVID-19 response and recovery is the focus of a new $28.5 million Pacific Education Innovation Fund announced today by Associate Minister of Education Jenny Salesa.