Young Maori (but only in three regions) will benefit from a $5.4m training package while the PM opens the border (just a teeny bit)

Our Beehive Bulletin

The racially targeted spending of $5.4 million – or “positive discrimination”, if that’s what you prefer to call it – was announced today in a statement which mentioned the impact of Covid-19 as part of the rationale.

The money will help up to 150 Māori train and gain qualifications in Tairāwhiti-East Coast, Northland-Tai Tokerau and the Bay of Plenty.

The PM brought more Covid-19 news at the weekend, after coming under pressure from political opponents and some commentators to ease the economic damage done by measures to curb the pandemic and open the country to more visitors (in tune with appropriate safeguards, of course).

She has obliged – well, sort of – by announcing that passengers from Niue can resume quarantine-free travel into New Zealand on Wednesday 24 March NZT (Tuesday 23 March Niue time).

“Niue has no reported cases of COVID-19 and its stringent border controls mean we can be confident it is safe to commence quarantine-free travel to New Zealand from Niue,” Jacinda Ardern said.

Among other Beehive pronouncements –

  • The PM released a copy of the speech she delivered at the “We Are One” National Remembrance Service for the March 15 mosque attack.
  • Earthworks and retaining structure work are getting under way today for one of two new primary schools in the Orewa Whangaparaoa catchment area. Orewa North West Primary School will cost just over $25 million to build and will initially have capacity to cater for up to 420 students. A second school, Milldale Primary School, is being planned with initial capacity for up to 370 students and has a budget of $20 million.
  • Associate Health Minister Ayesha Verrall announced the transformation of abortion services is a step closer. The Ministry of Health is seeking expressions of interest from providers to develop projects across three areas: establishing a new abortion service that’s been co-designed with young Māori, improving access to existing services and providing better training for “the workforce” (medical staff, we presume).
  • A new financial advice regulatory regime comes into effect this week. Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister David Clark said a key requirement of the scheme is that all advisers must adhere to a new Code of Professional Conduct, which sets standards of competence and professional conduct. Advisers will also be required to operate under a licence granted by the Financial Markets Authority.
  • Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta, done with extinguishing the rights of citizens in this country to challenge the establishment of race-based wards at local government level, popped up to challenge China’s dismantling of democracy in Hong Kong.  She and Senator Marise Payne, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Women in Australia, issued a joint statement to declare the governments of Australia and New Zealand, like G7 counterparts,

“ … are deeply concerned that changes to Hong Kong’s electoral system passed by the National People’s Congress on 11 March further undermine rights and freedoms and the high degree of autonomy guaranteed by China to Hong Kong until 2047 under the Sino-British Joint Declaration”.  

But let’s take a closer look at  Social Development and Employment Minister Carmel Sepuloni’s exercise in positive discrimination.  .

Two of the four funding recipients are in Tairāwhiti-East Coast.  They are Manaia SAFE Forestry School and the ICONIQ Group.  The others are North Drill Ltd in Northland-Tai Tokerau and Minginui Nursery in the Bay of Plenty.

Sepuloni said these programmes are about more than just learning new skills. They also provide young people with

“ … the pastoral care, guidance, qualifications and confidence to productively participate in their local communities, while also helping build a stronger economy.”

But here’s what grabbed our attention at Point of Order.  She further said –

“Today’s announcement is focused on regions where we want to engage with Māori and rangatahi who have been impacted by COVID-19, or who are not in education, employment or training. We want to help Māori get the training and qualifications they need, in order to find long-term jobs.

By our reckoning, any impact from Covid-19 will have been the consequence of the government-imposed restrictions on economic and social activity that has affected all regions, especially Auckland.

Health Ministry figures show there have been only four cases of the disease in Tairawhiti (0.2% of the national total of 2430 cases), 29 in Northland (1.2%), and 48 in Bay of Plenty (2%). None of those three regions has recorded Covid-19 deaths.

Oh – and Maori account for 200 total cases nation-wide (8.2%), compared with 1436  “European or Other” (59.1%) and 488 Asian (20.1%).

We look forward to hearing the announcement of the exercise of positive discrimination through a package of measures to help the Asian community.

Latest from the Beehive

15 MARCH 2021

$5.5 million funding boost for Māori Trades and Training

New financial advice rules will put consumers first

Improving access to abortion services

Work starts on new primary school in the Orewa Whangaparaoa catchment area

13 MARCH 2021

Speech at Ko Tātou, Tātou – We are One: National Remembrance Service for the March 15 mosque attack

Joint statement on electoral changes in Hong Kong

Quarantine-free travel to New Zealand from Niue

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