Two of three ministerial statements from the Beehive have been released in the name of the PM over the past two days.
The more important, insofar as it involves political action that will affect the wellbeing of significant numbers of Kiwis, was the release of the government’s Public Housing Plan 2021-2024, which outlines the intention of where 8,000 additional public and transitional housing places announced in Budget 2020 will go.
This was jointly released by Jacinda Ardern and Housing Minister Megan Woods, who says the need for public housing for the most vulnerable members of our communities continues to grow. Demand is outstripping supply, in other words, which calls for a strong critical focus on the government’s policies to reverse this trend.
But at Point of Order we were drawn first to the PM’s second statement, which records her congratulation of a white bloke of our vintage who has just been given a challenging new job.
We were especially heartened by the PM’s remarks because white blokes of our vintage are apt to be disparaged nowadays.
A perturbing example of the ageism which is growing in our society can be found in the left-leaning The Standard, which two days ago reported the appearance of a new political blog with a lean to the right.
Someone writing under the name Micky Savage opined:
But rather than involving a fresh presentation of new ideas in an attempt to engender debate this blog has three tired old has beens who are well past their use by date engage in some climate change denial and race baiting.
We can understand why Micky Savage – and heaps of others – might want to contest the arguments mounted by the three former politicians on the new blog.
Why their age should come into considerations is another matter.
The three new bloggers in question (according to their biographical notes on Wikipedia ) are:
- Michael Edward Rainton Bassett CNZM QSO, a former Labour Party member of the New Zealand House of Representatives and cabinet minister in the reformist fourth Labour government. He is aged 82.
- Donald Thomas Brash – a former New Zealand politician who was Leader of the Opposition and Leader of the New Zealand National Party from October 2003 to November 2006, and the Leader of ACT New Zealand from April to November 2011. He is aged 80.
- Rodney Philip Hide QSO, a former New Zealand politician of the ACT New Zealand party. Hide was a Member of Parliament for ACT from 1996 until 2011, was ACT’s leader between 2004 and 2011, and represented the Epsom constituency from 2005 to 2011. He is aged 64.
Let the record show that Hide is considerably younger than the bloke who was congratulated in the aforementioned PM’s press statement .
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has congratulated President Joe Biden on his inauguration as the 46th President of the United States of America.
“I look forward to building a close relationship with President Biden and working with him on issues that matter to both our countries,” Jacinda Ardern said.
“New Zealand and the United States have shared interests in addressing global challenges including climate change, the COVID-19 economic recovery, and the security, prosperity and sustainability of the Indo-Pacific and Pacific Island regions. We have a common investment in the international rules-based order and I welcome President Biden’s intentions for the US to re-join the Paris Agreement and halt its withdrawal from the World Health Organisation.
“President Biden is a good friend of New Zealand, and we have fond memories of his 2016 visit to our shores. Under his presidency the strong and close relationship that New Zealand enjoys with the United States will continue to develop and flourish.
“President Biden’s message of unity as he takes office is one that resonates with New Zealanders and, on behalf of New Zealand, I wish him well as he begins his presidency,” Jacinda Ardern said.
Fair to say, RNZ’s Morning Report this morning had plenty of material on Biden’s inauguration and programme.
It also found commentators (all women) to enthuse at Kamala Harris becoming the 49th vice president of the United States and the first Black, South Asian, and female occupant of the office.
7:54 AM. It’s also a historic day for women – and particularly women of colour – with Kamala Harris being sworn in as the first female Vice President. Linda Sarsour was the co-chair of the Women’s March in 2017 – a worldwide protest the day after Donald Trump’s inauguration. She speaks with Māni Dunlop.
8:50 AM. Vice President Kamala Harris is largely already considered the frontrunner for the 2024 Democratic presidential candidate. Ms Harris may be on her way to being the first woman president, and the first of East Asian descent. She has a mother India and a father from Jamaica, and was raised in California as a black child. Mani Dunlop spoke to New Zealand recipient of a New Year’s honour for gender rights, Vanisa Dhiru, and National Council of Women of New Zealand president Lisa Lawrence
At Point of Order we were disappointed some elderly blokes were not invited on to the programme to comment on the blow to ageism struck by the US presidential inauguration of a white man who – at the age of 78 – is the oldest person to assume the office.
We happen to regard Biden as a great role model, too, who makes nonsense of The Standard’s pathetically ageist critique of Bassett, Brash and Hide. Biden (like Robert the Bruce) is a role model for persistence, too, because he won the Presidency on this third attempt.
But back to The Beehive, where another of the recent ministerial statements announced a major investment to tackle wilding pines in Mt Richmond, create jobs and help protect the area’s unique ecosystems.
Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor says the Mt Richmond Forest Park has unique ecosystems developed on mineral-rich geology, including plant species found nowhere else in the country.
Led by Tasman District Council, the $620,000 project is an extension of the $1.3 million Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) funding for Mt Richmond Forest Park Wilding Conifer control this year. The funding will create employment opportunities for an additional eight full time equivalent employees and training opportunities spread over a three-year period.
And the building plan we mentioned at the start of this post?
“The Government is committed to continuing its public house build programme at pace and scale. The extra 8,000 homes – 6000 public housing places and 2,000 transitional housing places – reinforces the Government’s investment in public housing. The plan confirms we are on track to deliver over 18,000 extra places by 2024,” says Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
Fixing the housing crisis “is a key focus of this Government”, Ardern said.
Since November 2017 – according to her data – 4579 newly built state homes have been built around the country and more new public housing is being built than any government has done in two decades.
Woods said the Public Housing Plan is one part of a range of housing initiatives to address the housing crisis. These include the Housing First Programme for people experiencing chronic homelessness, Progressive Home Ownership to help families buy their own homes, support for first home buyers and the $300m investment into the Homelessness Action Plan.
The Government is also reviewing market settings to provide more help to first home buyers and innovative ideas to increase the supply of affordable homes.
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