Govt gives career boost to people in the creation business – but those in the conversion business will be banned

Our Beehive Bulletin … 

The price tag was left out of the announcement, when Carmel Sepuloni, Minister of Arts, Culture and Heritage and Minister of Social Development, launched a Creative Careers Service which is expected to support up to 1,000 creatives across three regions over the next two years.

The new service builds on the most successful aspects of the former Pathways to Arts and Cultural Experience (PACE) programme, she said.

Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage and the Ministry for Social Development have partnered to pilot the service.

Sepuloni’s announcement was one of three new posts on the Beehive website since last we checked.  The others are –

  • The PM’s speech to National Remembrance Service on the 10th anniversary of the Christchurch earthquake
  • Justice Minister Kris Faafoi reaffirmed the Government’s “urgent commitment” (as stated in its 2020 Election Manifesto) to ban “conversion practices” in New Zealand by this time next year.

Conversion practices?

We suppose Faafoi is not gunning for missionaries trying to convert heathens to Christianity or environmentalists trying to convert motorists from petrol-powered vehicles to electric ones (or, even better, to walking and cycling) or Labour politicians trying to convert Maori Party voters for support at the next election.     

But the press statement is somewhat coy about the conversion practices that are being urgently addressed and it does not clearly explain who will be banned from doing what.  Continue reading “Govt gives career boost to people in the creation business – but those in the conversion business will be banned”

The Great Reset: Deputy PM pulls the plug on Magic Talk audience after reacting (badly) to questions about a conspiracy

None of our readers should be surprised to hear of a politician ducking questions.  But Deputy PM Grant Robertson’s handling of questions about “The Great Reset” and what he did subsequently bear closer examination.

The questions posed by host Peter Williams appeared designed to give Magic Talk Mornings listeners a better understanding of this Great Reset caper and whether New Zealand would be involved.

But Roberson dismissed the phrase as a conspiracy theory and – we are told – will no longer appear on the show.

As far as Point of Order can ascertain The Great Reset is an initiative of the World Economic Forum which has triggered conspiracy theories among reactionaries who fear it is part of a vile Marxist plot to over-tax them or otherwise do them a serious economic mischief.

But there are umpteen conspiracy theories around all sorts of things, including Covid-19 and the vaccines to deal with it.  Will Robertson no long be talking about them, either?

The WEF says on its website:

There is an urgent need for global stakeholders to cooperate in simultaneously managing the direct consequences of the COVID-19 crisis. To improve the state of the world, the World Economic Forum is starting The Great Reset initiative. Continue reading “The Great Reset: Deputy PM pulls the plug on Magic Talk audience after reacting (badly) to questions about a conspiracy”

Bee-keepers are among the winners in our Covid-affected economy but – with 141,000 unemployed – hardship is inevitable

 LATEST FROM THE BEEHIVE

A Newroom article with a somewhat emotive headline (Dad-of-eight laid off in lockdown: ‘We’re not seeing an economic recovery’) contrasts the grim findings of hardship in a Salvation Army report with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s hailing New Zealand’s relatively strong job market as the “envy of many countries”.

The job market data were surprisingly encouraging.  The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped to 4.9 per cent in the December 2020 quarter, down from a Covid lockdown-driven peak of 5.3 per cent three months earlier.

But that’s not what Salvation Army social workers are seeing out on the street, according to the welfare organisation’s state of the nation report.

Apprising us of the report’s findings, Newsroom adds:

It’s not what Dave Letele and his team at BBM Motivation in south and west Auckland are seeing. And it’s certainly not what unemployed father-of-eight Ray Milovale is seeing. Continue reading “Bee-keepers are among the winners in our Covid-affected economy but – with 141,000 unemployed – hardship is inevitable”

Nick Smith’s fairness questions (were Maori ward supporters given more time?) spark call for reopening of submissions on bill

The New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union  has drawn attention to a significant constitutional issue regarding our right to be consulted fairly on laws which affect our voting rights.

It’s the suggestion (the union said “disclosure”) that Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahata gave local councils advance notice of her Māori wards legislation and the short time that would be allowed for public submissions. 

The Minister had given her allies a five-day head start to prepare submissions on the Bill to entrench Maori wards, union spokesman Jordan Williams contended.

Members of the public, on the other hand, were given just one day’s notice to prepare for “the disgracefully short two-day submission window.”

Williams insisted:

“The Minister knew perfectly well what she was doing. The decision to warn her mates before blindsiding the general public can only be read as a cynical attempt to manipulate the consultation process and limit the contributions of New Zealanders opposed to the Bill.”

This compromising of the process warranted the Speaker reopening the calling of submissions, Williams said. Continue reading “Nick Smith’s fairness questions (were Maori ward supporters given more time?) spark call for reopening of submissions on bill”

Hands up, girls, if you would like free tampons – and (it seems) that’s how the govt gauged the need to act on period poverty

The Beehive was busy yesterday, banging out statements on period poverty, initiatives to deal with Covid-19 and a report on sustainable tourism.

The report on sustainable tourism, published by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment,  gave us a much better idea of what’s in the wind for the beleaguered tourist industry – by the way – than the bewildering statement on conservation and tourism from the Minister of Conservation which we reported here yesterday.

It alerts us to the prospect of an overhaul of the tourism industry and it proposes a departure tax, enforcing visitor limits in under-pressure destinations and tighter controls on commercial operators.

But the joint statement from our Tourism and Conservation Ministers, which welcomed the report, used the language of policy wonks rather than of the citizens.  They said the report

“ … adds to calls to overhaul the tourism model that existed prior to COVID19”.

The tourism model?

Not so obfuscating but much more perturbing was news from the PM that taxpayers are being called on to provide schoolgirls with products they or their parents should be providing. Continue reading “Hands up, girls, if you would like free tampons – and (it seems) that’s how the govt gauged the need to act on period poverty”

What’s up, DoC, and how will we be affected? The answers may lie in strategy documents on the ministry’s website

Latest from the Beehive

One Minister has been accounting for the Government’s fiscal performance and stronger money flows than had been forecast; another is counting (we assume) on good things resulting from the new strategy she has announced…

The first minister referenced here is Finance Minister Grant Robertson, who (yet again) is braying about the government’s books being in better shape than forecast.

The second, Conservation Minister Kiri Allen, announced the Department of Conservation’s new Heritage and Visitor Strategy

” … is fully focused on protecting and enhancing the value of New Zealand’s natural, cultural and historic heritage, while also promoting a sustainable environmental experience. “

Allen was clear enough when she looked back:

“It has been a quarter of a century since DOC first developed a visitor strategy. Things have obviously changed quite a bit since then.

“Along with a significant increase in New Zealanders visiting conservation areas, there has been rapid growth and fluctuation in the numbers of international visitors as well as changes in how people want to get into nature and connect with New Zealand’s heritage.”

Yep.  Got that.

And we won’t quibble with her claim that: Continue reading “What’s up, DoC, and how will we be affected? The answers may lie in strategy documents on the ministry’s website”

Rising world market prices for our dairy products give all of NZ cause to cheer

Covid-19 has  delivered a body blow to NZ’s international  tourism  industry and bruised university incomes from foreign students — but NZ’s  primary industries  are rising to the  challenge  and yielding impressive returns week  by week.  As  a  consequence, NZ’s  economy  is  not  sustaining  the  kind of Covid damage   which – for example –   lowered  the  United Kingdom’s  GDP  by 9% last year.

Defying predictions, the dairy sector has started  the  year   strongly.  Moreover,  lamb markets did not move down as  expected but have  marginally improved  while  demand  for beef  from China has been  strong.  Log   returns are  trending up.

On the  other  hand, in horticulture, the  results  so far  have been variable:  for  example  cherry orchardists’  crops  were devastated by  the weather.

For  primary  exporters  the  problems have come  from different quarters,  first  in logistical challenges and second   from the  currency  which  has  moved up  to 72USc.  Nevertheless,  the  basic  message  is  that  the  rural  economy   has helped to fill  the  gaps  left  by the  destruction  caused by  the  Covid-19 pandemic. Continue reading “Rising world market prices for our dairy products give all of NZ cause to cheer”

Climate Change Commission has plenty of new energy developments to consider before completing its final report

Thirteen   wind farms, each the size of the country’s  largest, will need  to be  built in the  next  15 years  to power  the  country’s fleets of  electric vehicles, and boilers. That’s  what the Climate Change Commission has urged in its  recent    report to the  government.

Whether   the  country’s power  companies  will see it  the  same way  as the commission is  far   less certain. Already  Contact, one of the biggest, has stepped  up  to the plate and says  it  will  invest $580m  to build a  new  geothermal  station at Tauhara.

Contact’s  chairman, Rob McDonald,  says:

“We believe the Tauhara geothermal project is NZ’s  best  low-carbon ren ewable electricity opportunity.  It will operate 24/7, is not reliant on the weather  and is ideal for displacing  baseload  fossil fuel generation  from the  national grid which  will significantly reduce  NZ’s carbon emissions”.

Construction is  expected to be  completed  by  mid-2023. Japan’s Sumitomo Corporation  is  leading the build, in partnership   with Naylor Love  and Fuiji Electric.

Meanwhile   Genesis Energy  is  reviewing whether it  should keep its investment in the offshore Kupe  oil and gas field,  or look at “better investment  opportunities”.

It  says the field  has “attractive” cash flow and a  strong  growth outlook, and its operators are looking at further development, including  further  exploration and drilling  another well.

Kupe  provides  around 15% of  the  country’s  natural gas  and half  of  LPG demand.

Last  August  its gas  reserves  were revised  upwards  by  more  than 20%.  Its  importance to  the  country  has  risen  after  Beach  Energy  and NZ  Oil  and  Gas (Genesis’  other  partners  in Kupe)  relinquished  PEP  52717 (Clipper)  which contained  the promising Barque  prospect off  the  Canterbury coast  this  week.

NZ  Oil  and  Gas  said  it  was with “much regret”  they  gave  up the permit  after years of  work to mature  it  and  bring in appropriate partners. CEO Andrew  Jefferies  says  he  expects it  will not be  the  last offshore  acreage  to suffer  the same fate.

He  points to a  confluence of  events including adverse regulatory settings, the  dry  hole in OMV’s Tawhilki permit,the recent announcement

Terminating the  Wherry-1 drilling, and the effects of Covid drill costs having  formed  a perfect storm, making  the task of finding suitable drill partners in the required timeline impossible.

Both  Beach  and  NZOG  reaffirm their commitment  to NZ  with  Kupe   which they say “remains a  key supplier to the  country’s energy needs”.

At Kupe they are halfway through a major compression project  to maintain production, and say  the offshore  permit has both development and near-field  exploration potential.

Their enthusiasm  for  Kupe  suggests   both   could be interested   in  channelling  more of  their capital,  now  they  will be  no longer funnelling   any  towards the  Barque prospect, into Kupe. They might  also  be interested  in snapping  up   Genesis’ stake  if it comes on the market.

However  that  works  out, there  are  other interesting  moves   in the  energy  field  which makes  some of  the  Climate Change Commission’s scenarios  look  out of  date  even  before  they reach the government.

Energy  consultants    report   keen interest by  overseas  interests  in investing   in large-scale  solar  projects  in NZ,  now  that  the price  of  solar  equipment   is falling.   Where big solar  farms   can  be  located  adjacent to large sources  of demand,   the  lower  transmission costs  are  said  to make  the economics  look very attractive.

With  the  government  moving  last week to  stiffen up the Emissions  Trading Scheme, incentives  in the  energy  sector   are  changing  rapidly. Climate Change Minister James Shaw  claims  the government  had to lift the price  to emit  because  the  scheme had  failed to deliver on its primary purpose  of bring down carbon emissions.

The  Climate  Change Commission will have to bring these developments into consideration before its final report  reaches the government  for  action next  December.

Terrorism and citizenship: Ardern’s “fiery blast” looks unlikely to melt Aussie PM’s hard line on woman held in Turkey

LATEST FROM THE BEEHIVE

Surprise, surprise.  The Aussies – the Aussie leadership, anyway –  are cool about incorporating kindliness in their  rule book on good governance.  As a consequence we were treated yesterday to news of an angry Kiwi Prime Minister showing the flinty side of her character.

At issue is whether New Zealand should be responsible for a woman – allegedly an Isis terrorist – with New Zealand citizenship arrested in Turkey.

But (a) the woman hasn’t lived in this country since she was six, and (b) she travelled to Syria on an Australian passport.

As RNZ tells it:

Ardern publicly lambasted the Australian prime minister on Tuesday, revealing his government unilaterally stripped the 26-year-old woman’s Australian citizenship due to her travelling to Syria to join Isis – effectively dumping the issue on New Zealand’s doorstep.

The woman, who had lived in Australia for two decades and travelled to Syria on an Australian passport, was arrested with her two young children in Turkey on Monday evening.

By stripping the woman of her Aussie citizenship (apparently without letting NZ authorities know about it), the Morrison government made her this country’s problem if the Turks deport her.

The New Zealand Herald reported our PM had delivered “a fiery blast”.

A more measured account of the government’s position was posted on the Beehive website later in the day, along with announcements which told us:

  • Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta and Defence Minister Peeni Henare have announced that New Zealand will conclude its deployment of the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) to Afghanistan by May 2021.
  • Rino Tirikatane, Associate Minister of Trade and Export Growth, delivered a speech headed Supporting Māori to Succeed in Trade – International Inter-Tribal Trade and Investment Organization (IITIO) (Virtual) Event.  It’s his job (he explained) to help position Māori to lead international efforts to expand the participation of indigenous people in global trade, “including through the expansion of inclusive trade policies, rules and co-operation with our trade partners”.   
  • Figures released by Stats NZ show there was strong growth in median household incomes in 2020, before surveying was halted due to COVID-19.

In her Beehive statement about the ISIS suspect, the PM spoke of the government being in contact with relevant authorities in Turkey following the arrest of a former Australian and New Zealand dual citizen there.

Contingency planning for the potential return of any New Zealander who may have been in the conflict zone has been underway for some time, she said.  The New Zealand Police and “other agencies” are involved.

“The woman in this case has held New Zealand and Australian citizenships and has been known to Australian and New Zealand authorities for some time.

“The fair question to ask is whether she should return to New Zealand or Australia. We firmly believe the answer is Australia – and have repeatedly communicated that view to the Australian Government at the highest levels.

“Unfortunately the Australian Government unilaterally cancelled her citizenship.”

The PM brought morality into considerations.

“It is wrong that New Zealand should shoulder the responsibility for a situation involving a woman who has not lived in New Zealand since she was six, has resided in Australia since that time, has her family in Australia and left for Syria from Australia on her Australian passport.”

Wrong?  But this is the nation still remembered for underarm bowling.

The PM went on:

“We believe Australia has abdicated its responsibilities in relation to this person and I have personally made that point to Prime Minister Morrison.

“Our international obligations are important to New Zealand. Where dual citizenship is involved, our view has been that it’s for New Zealand and Australia to resolve the most appropriate response and ensure that we do not strip citizenship and render someone stateless, especially when children are involved.

“We continue to urge Australia to cooperate in the management of these cases.

“The welfare of the children also needs to be at the forefront in this situation. These children were born in a conflict zone through no fault of their own.”

Coming to New Zealand, where they have no immediate family, would not be in their best interests, Ardern insisted.

“We know that young children thrive best when surrounded by people who love them. We will be raising these points with the Australian Government.

“We will be engaging with the Turkish authorities, and given there are children involved, their welfare will be top of mind in our response,” Jacinda Ardern said.

It seems Ardern had learned of the woman’s loss of dual citizenship earlier in the day.

The New Zealand Herald reported Ardern as saying she had raised the issue with Australian prime minister Scott Morrison and asked they work together.

“I was then informed that Australia has unilaterally revoked the citizenship of the individual involved.

“I think New Zealand, frankly, is tired of having Australia export its problems. This is clearly an individual whose links sit most closely with Australia.”

Morrison defended Australia’s actions (as we would expect).

“My job is Australia’s interests. And it’s my job as Australia’s prime minister to put Australia’s national security interests first…”

There is no official record on the Beehive website (at least, not that we found this morning) of a trans-tasman phone call on the issue.

But according to RNZ: 

The office of New Zealand’s Prime Minister has described a phone call last night with Australia’s Scott Morrison as “constructive”.

And:

Today a spokesperson said, “regardless of the steps taken in this case to date, both NZ and Australia acknowledge that this case now has a number of complexities”.

We don’t imagine Ardern will admit to seeing any merit in the position articulated by National’s Gerry Brownlee.

He said the woman being held in Turkey should be responsible for herself.

National’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson Gerry Brownlee told Heather du Plessis-Allan it was well publicised years ago if you were going off to join ISIS, there would be consequences.

“Why there is suddenly a sort of political stoush about who is responsible here is I think a bit of a mute point.” 

He says we should just leave it to Turkish justice system to deal with her. 

Brownlee pointed out that New Zealand has washed its hands of Mark Taylor, described in the Herald as New Zealand’s most notorious ISIS fighter.

Latest from the Beehive

Release

17 FEBRUARY 2021

New Zealand to conclude its deployment to Afghanistan in 2021

Supporting Māori to Succeed in Trade – International Inter-Tribal Trade and Investment Organization (IITIO) (Virtual) Event

Prime Minister’s statement on the arrest of former dual citizen in Turkey

16 FEBRUARY 2021

Household incomes rise but more work needed

Biden has been busy mending fences but keeping progressive Democrats corralled will be challenging

Citizen Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial is over.  Much of the US enthralled and horrified by how close America came to an insurrection on January 6, but President Joe Biden is forging ahead.

Nearly a month into his job, he has set about mending fences with an enthusiasm that belies his years.  He had a torrid two-hour phone call with China’s president  Xi-Jinping, chiding him over his treatment of Muslim Uighurs and upholding Trump’s designation of the situation as “genocide”.

He has promised Beijing tough commercial competition once the US economy revives – due later this year, according to the forecasters. 

Likewise, he was hard-nosed with Russia’s Vladimir Putin, raising the poisoning and imprisonment of Alexei Navalny.

In what so far has been a symbolic gesture, he has returned the US to the UN Human Rights Council, a group of 47 countries whose own record on the subject is debatable. He has ordered a review of arms sales and pulled US support for the civil war in Yemen.  

He says he will soften Trump’s harsh approach to refugees and take in 125,000, up from 15,000. Continue reading “Biden has been busy mending fences but keeping progressive Democrats corralled will be challenging”