More humane deaths for rats is contemplated – what’s in store for bankers has yet to be determined

Our lives won’t be too greatly affected, for better or worse, by the latest batch of pronouncements from the Beehive.  At least, not according to our at-first-blush analysis.

Rats which have trespassed on to DoC territory, on the other hand, have cause for disquiet.

Bankers may be a tad bothered, too, by news the Government is taking another step towards regulating the bank payment system “to make merchant service fees on debit and credit card fees fairer and less of a burden for Kiwis and businesses”.

Easing the burden for Kiwis and businesses presumably means a bigger burden is being transferred to someone else, although we suspect the applause will outweigh the protests if the someone else happens to be a banker.

But there’s an element of wait-and-see about this.  Ministers will report back to Cabinet by April 2021 with the outcome of a consultation they launched yesterday before they press on with regulatory changes through Parliament.

Other announcements were that –

  • Work has begun on a project to extend the Tukituki Trail, a popular Central Hawke’s Bay walk and cycleway. The Provincial Development Unit is contributing $750,000 to the project (part of the $100 million Worker Redeployment Package announced in response to the Covid-19 epidemic).  The walkway and cycleway extension will create another 12 kilometres of paths on one side of the river, connected by a new bridge, along with 10 kilometres of mountain bike trails in a nearby reserve.
  • The Government has launched “Tiaki Whānau”, a pilot programme “which will provide better support for young parents who most need extra help”.  The Government allocated $10 million as part of Budget 2019 Mental Wellbeing Package for three pilots to provide enhanced support for young parents and their families.  Tiaki Whanau, in Lakes DHB area is the first of these pilots.

The ministerial statement about bankers and merchant service fees for credit and contactless debit card transactions says New Zealand retailers pay their banks nearly twice as much as their Australian counterparts on these fees.

Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister David Clark said:

“Interchange fees, which banks charge for credit and debit transactions, form a large share of merchant service fees. We are looking at ways of regulating these fees by introducing hard caps, targeted for different classes of retailers.”

But it seems we can thank COVID-19 for the minister’s interest in intervening.

With the recent uptake in consumers switching to contactless payments to protect against COVID-19 transmission, he said, “there is even more of a need to reduce merchant service fees”.

Does this mean he might have done nothing if this had not happened?

Small Business Minister Stuart Nash said smaller businesses are predominantly bearing the brunt of merchant service fees, which are too high.

“New Zealand retailers pay more than other countries, costing businesses on average $13,000 more per year than their Australian counterparts,” Mr Nash says.

“Because small businesses are so heavily reliant on credit and debit card transactions, they are at the mercy of the banks when it comes to receiving payments for goods and services. 

“Reducing this business overhead would mean businesses can hold onto more of their own money and pass on savings to consumers. This in turn will aid the recovery from the pandemic by putting more money back in the economy.”

The consultation that will determine what happens next (if anything) closes on 19 February.

You can view the consultation  HERE. 

Uncharitable readers might think it apposite that this rundown on the government’s latest pronouncements is moving at this juncture from bank regulation to predator control.

Others might want to challenge our suggestion that what comes next will be disquieting news for rats.  The intention, after all, is to give them a humane death.

DOC and Predator Free 2050 Ltd are backing the development of a biodegradable rat trap that can be distributed by air to contribute to a predator free Aotearoa.

The aerial micro-trap, which will be co-funded and designed by conservation technology company Goodnature, stands to be a game-changer in predator control, Conservation Minister Kiri Allan said.

She hailed the aerial micro-trap as a new concept that is non-toxic and humane, and potentially cost-effective for “suppressing” rats over large areas and in remote and difficult to access locations.

The shuttle-cock-sized trap, still at concept stage, would be dropped by helicopter or drone to target ship and Norway rats across the landscape. After single use, it would biodegrade into the environment (as would the dead rat, we suppose).

Goodnature will design, build, and test a prototype for the micro-trap, in collaboration with DOC. The trap then would be produced and sold by the company.

Government funding of $1.3 million over five years for the development of the micro-trap will come from DOC’s Tools to Market programme ($965,000) and Predator Free 2050 Ltd’s Products to Projects fund ($335,000), backed by the Provincial Growth Fund. Goodnature will also significantly invest in the project.

Latest from the Beehive

10 DECEMBER 2020

Tukituki cycle trail extension underway

Work has begun on a project to nearly double the length of a popular Central Hawke’s Bay walk and cycle way.

Whānau-centred care for young parents’ pilot launches

The Government is progressing its work on supporting families and children with today’s Rotorua launch of “Tiaki Whānau”, a pilot programme which will provide better support for young parents who most need extra help.

Lower card fees to benefit Kiwis and small businesses

The Government is moving ahead with plans to regulate the bank payment system to make merchant service fees on debit and credit card fees fairer and less of a burden for Kiwis and businesses.

Aerial traps could be a game-changer to help restore nature

DOC and Predator Free 2050 Ltd are backing the development of a biodegradable rat trap that can be distributed by air to contribute to a predator free Aotearoa, Minister of Conservation Kiri Allan announced in Wellington today.

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