The PGF makes way for the RSPF – there’s not so much money and Maori projects will have the inside running

We haven’t had time to add up the sums involved, but the Government has made several announcements in the past 24 hours or so involving the spending or investment of hundreds of millions of dollars.

Mind you, most of the population has been deemed ineligible on race grounds to benefit directly from some of that spending – you could say much of it.  But the government does insist that if Maori do well, we all do well, which means we will all benefit in the long run.

The aviation industry is one beneficiary where ethnicity (so far as we can tell) has not been a consideration in the government’s decision-making.  An additional $170 million is being provided for the Maintaining International Air Connectivity scheme to October 2021.

Another announcement – for regional grants and loans promised before the election – transforms the Provincial Growth Fund and continues its work in developing regional projects, but with less money and a new name, the Regional Strategic Partnership Fund.

Even so, there’s $200 million to be distributed to worthy causes (and Maori projects are being given the inside running).

Maori medium schools are the beneficiaries of $77 million in new capital and Maori communities are the beneficiaries of 15 initiatives to receive $2.8m of funding for renewable energy projects.  This is just a first helping:  in total $14 million will go to renewable energy projects for Māori housing over the next four years.

Our observations are that five of the fresh press statements from the Beehive can be characterised as  …

Jacinda’s Treaty treats 

Steering Group assembled to select Māori Health Authority interim board

 The Māori Health Authority’s head, Sir Mason Durie, has selected and brought together the members of a Steering Group who will work with Māori to identify candidates for the interim board.

The Steering Group will provide advice to the Transition Unit in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet on governance arrangements and initial appointments to an interim board.

The members are:

  • Dr Matire Harwood
  • Parekawhia McLean
  • Tā Mark Solomon
  • Rāhui Papa
  • Kim Ngārimu
  • Amohaere Houkamau
  • Lisa Tumahai

The term of the Steering Group will run from May to July 2021.

The Steering Group will identify candidates to govern the interim Māori Health Authority. This shortlist of names will go to Cabinet and, following agreement of the identified candidates, Associate Health Minister Peeni Henare hopes to confirm appointments to the interim board by 1 September.

 Solar power initiative win for Māori households and future renewable projects

Solar panels and other renewable technology will support more than 200 homes for Maori tribal elders, Maori housing developments and Māori-owned rentals to provide cheaper power, warmer, and drier homes, and valuable data.

This initiative is

” … part of the Government’s focus on creating targeted renewable energy solutions for Māori and public housing.”

These small-scale projects will generate approximately 700 KW of solar electricity and provide cheaper power to more than 200 households, many using innovative micro-grid solutions.

The projects will also provide the government with valuable insights and data on how to best deploy renewable energy technologies to achieve the twin aims of combating energy hardship and increasing renewables generation.

Fifteen initiatives will receive funding for renewable energy projects in the Fund’s first round ($2.8m). In total $14 million will go to renewable energy projects for Māori housing over the next four years.

Some of the projects will go further by installing household batteries to store surplus electricity, replacing the use of diesel generators “to build community resilience, and to trial innovative solutions to share power with others.”

One project in Manawatū will install solar generation and large-scale batteries on four marae to power nearby houses through an innovative energy-sharing platform, targeting vulnerable households.

Another project will install solar generation on homes tenanted by kaumātua and whānau with tamariki at risk of energy hardship in the Ngāi Tahu takiwa.

More information about the projects and future funding rounds is available here.

Approximately $14 million has also been committed to fund renewable energy projects on public housing. This fund is being managed separately and funding announcements will be made in the coming months.

Projects predominantly led by, or for, Māori-affiliated or Māori-run organisations were prioritised for funding.

 Blending Mātauranga Māori and Food Safety – A Recipe for Success in Northland

According to the first sentence of this statement from the Minister for Food Safety, Dr Ayesha Verrall ,

“Kai and manaakitanga are the focus of an initiative, aimed at supporting Māori to achieve their economic and community goals”.

The economic boost will come from bed-and-breakfast activities, or something similar, by the looks of things.

The statement marked the launch of “Te Kete Haumaru Kai” (the Food Safety Kit) pilot at Moerewa’s Te Rito Marae.

It’s a tool kit of resources such as flip charts, posters, magnets, thermometers and videos, which will make it easier for marae to provide and sell tucker to visitors.

Ayesha Verrall said:

“The Kete brings a mātauranga Māori perspective to managing food safety risks, and translates Food Act legislation into practical marae based food rules.

“This is a genuine partnership – a culmination of two years of mahi for hāpu who want to maximise the opportunities brought by tourists riding the Pou Herenga Tai cycle trail in Northland.”

The Kete was developed in partnership between local Ngāpuhi hāpu, Pou Herenga Tai Twin Coast Cycle Trail Trust, Far North District Council, New Zealand Food Safety (part of the Ministry for Primary Industries) and Northland Inc.

  • The Kete is an interactive bilingual Te Reo Māori/English toolkit containing requirements, guidance, flip charts, posters, stickers, magnets, thermometer and videos.
  • It was co-designed for marae near the Pou Herenga Tai Twin Coast Cycle Trail, so they can provide and sell safe and suitable kai to manuhiri, while supporting the local economy and food production.
  • At the end of the six month pilot, the Kete will be assessed and changes will be made if necessary

Government invests to grow Māori Medium Education

Associate Education Minister Kelvin Davis – among the Māori Ministers who visited the future site of Te Pūtahi Māori o Manurewa today to celebrate an investment of more than $91 million for Māori Medium School Property – used the occasion to highlight Budget goodies for  Maori.

Funding in this year’s Māori Budget package to build and expand schools delivering Māori Medium Education would ensure more students could access quality classrooms and learning facilities, he said.

The investment of more than $91 million is made up of $77 million in new capital and $14 million in associated operating funding.

The new capital and provides:

  • $18.9 million for Te Pūtahi Māori o Manurewa, a campus that will house both Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Manurewa and Te Wharekura o Manurewa. This is on top of $24 million announced by the previous Government.
  • A further $11.6 million for Manukura, a special character school in Palmerston North. This is on top of $20 million announced in 2018, and will deliver an additional 100 student places, leaving the school with capacity for 300 students.
  • $17.1 million for Te Kura Kaupapa Māori Te Wananga Whare Tapere o Takitimu. The school was allocated $12.7 million by the previous Government, but this funding will increase the school’s capacity by a further 120 student places.
  • $29.4 million for roll growth classrooms at existing Māori Medium schools, delivering around 550 additional student places
  • A programme contingency to address any unforeseen issues or risks that could affect the delivery of the Māori Medium Education growth programme.

COVID-19 Information vital to Māori vaccination and immunisation programme

Associate Health Minister Peeni Henare emphasised the importance of getting the right information to Maori communities on the COVID-19 vaccination (at Point of Order we reckon getting out the right information is important to every community).

Henare harked back to March when the Government confirmed the timing and sequencing of an initial $39 million to ensure the COVID-19 programme.  It had a strong focus on protecting Māori families and preparing Māori communities for the roll-out of the COVID-19 programme.

Much of that funding – $24.5 million – is for the development of community-based vaccine support services.

Feedback from his visits and talks with Māori showed many still need more information. They asked questions about the vaccination roll-out including safety, whether the vaccine is free and when families could get vaccinated.

These are much the same as the questions asked by most New Zealanders, come to think of it.

The statement shows that $11 million has been allocated to the Māori provider fund for provider readiness.  This will result in  more than 60 Māori vaccination providers delivering services across New Zealand.

More than half of those providers have already been contracted through the Ministry of Health with the remainder expected to be contracted as the programme scales up.

More than 500 Māori are  trained as vaccinators and 150 are already doing this work.  More than 26,000 Māori have received their first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine and over 11,000 have received their second dose.

The government has allocated $2 million for “by Māori for Māori” communications.

The fund enables a local communications response to inform communities about the COVID-19 vaccination programme.

A contestable fund of $1.5 million received 57 applications, representing 140 organisations, iwi and hapū. The remaining $500,000 is allocated to the Iwi Communications Collective – 43 iwi communications practitioners working with and for their respective Maori communities.

$24.5m is broken down into three components:

  • $17.5m for vaccine support service which includes navigators and coordinators. This funding has been allocated to DHBs with baseline funding of 20 percent and 80 percent based on PBFF (Population based funding formula). This funding is for FTE support which will go directly to Māori Health Providers.
  • $5.6m is for a virtual support network or Telehealth type service.
  • $1.4m is for community champions. Discussions are being held on how to allocate this funding.

And now – something for everybody 

 Next step for regional economic recovery

The government has launched the $200 million Regional Strategic Partnership Fund, to replace the Provincial Growth Fund.  And yes, it’s for everybody with an acceptable project, but check out the objectives.

Economic and Regional Development Minister Stuart Nash told the annual conference of economic development agencies, local government representatives and chambers of commerce the new fund delivers on a manifesto commitment (more modest than the PGF) to keep supporting economic recovery in the regions.

Over this Parliamentary term the RSPF has three goals. It will work in local partnerships to

  • enable economic and business development,
  • accelerate Māori economic aspirations, and
  • support sector transformation.

Each region will help decide its own priorities.

Central government will partner with local government, iwi, businesses, community organisations and other agencies to identify priorities and co-funding opportunities.

Regions will identify priority investments which support the Government’s vision of creating more productive, resilient, inclusive, sustainable and Māori-enabling regional economies.

Year one funding is set aside in Budget 2021, from reprioritised funding administered by the Provincial Development Unit (PDU). Further reprioritisation will occur by the PDU to reflect the Minister of Finance’s expectation of value for money and targeted investment where it is most needed.

The $200 million fund will be seed funding for regional priorities, with further funding decided on a case by case basis.

The PGF invested more than $3.11 billion in regional economic development in its three year life. Existing PGF projects will continue to be progressed.

The PDU will continue to have management and oversight of the new fund. It has a track record of regional investment in loans, equity and grants, and manages $4.5 billion in eight separate funds which are contributing significantly to building our regional economies.

The PDU will adopt a new name to reflect its new focus. It will be known as Kānoa, or the Regional Economic Development and Investment Unit. Kānoa has a broad meaning through proverb and whakataukī, with reference to home fires, and to the guardian of the store house who helped others to thrive.

Air connectivity scheme helping recovery take off

On the aviation front, the Government has awarded a new round of airline support contracts through to the end of October “to help keep New Zealand connected internationally and positioned for recovery”.

Transport Minister Michael Wood recalled the previous International Airfreight Capacity (IAFC) scheme had been restructured in March this year to focus on staying connected with international partners and the country’s recovery. It allows for support levels to reduce as passenger numbers rise.

Airfreight capacity is at 90 per cent of pre-COVID levels thanks to the previous scheme and its successor, the Maintaining International Air Connectivity (MIAC) scheme, and since May last year, government support has enabled more than 7,000 flights carrying over 136,000 tonnes of airfreight worth around $10 billion.

Nearly 75,000 people have returned to New Zealand on flights supported by the scheme – 53 per cent of the total number of people to pass through MIQ facilities.

New agreements have been reached with Air New Zealand, Air Tahiti Nui, Korean Air, and China Airlines to maintain airfreight capacity with key international partners. The Ministry of Transport is negotiating with several other carriers and further announcements will be made in the coming weeks.

The price tag was recorded in the second-last paragraph:  based on forecast demand for the MIAC scheme, the Government has agreed to an additional $170 million in support to October 2021, which will be drawn from the COVID-19 support package.

More information on the IAFC and MIAC schemes can be found on the Ministry of Transport website and exporters should contact their usual freight forwarder.

Former director, long-serving heroes celebrated at Emergency Management Awards

 This one was news of a Minister dishing out awards and celebrating the achievements of officials and volunteers within the Emergency Management portfolio.

A former Director of Civil Defence Emergency Management and a cadet-turned controller who has served his community for 50 years were among those recognised by Kris Faafoi, Acting Minister for Emergency Management, at an award ceremony in Wellington.

The former director was Sarah Stuart-Black, who played a leading role in the 2016 Kaikōura/Hurunui earthquake, 2017 Edgecumbe floods, 2019 Christchurch Mosque shooting, 2019 Whakaari White Island eruption, and more recently the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Speech 

National Emergency Management Agency Conference

Effective communication was high in her considerations, when the PM addressed the national emergency management agency conference.

She spoke of the privilege of being a leader during emergencies, a university assignment that involved her observing a 111 call centre, and how information is a powerful antidote to the fear caused by uncertainty during crises.

She recalled the day the government introduced the alert level framework for COVID. And the first alert level announcement.

“Everything moved so quickly. At the beginning of the week we were still talking about a model that had us ‘flattening the curve.’

“In just a few days we had modelling that told us that wouldn’t be sufficient, and we would need to use restrictions to save lives.

“But how could we communicate the idea that we would need to move in and out of a set of tools that included everything from gathering limits to standing at a certain distance apart from one another?

“As it turns out, you do it using the same kind of framework that is already known – water level alerts, or fire hazards.

“By Friday we had a draft, by Saturday we shared it with New Zealand, and a few days later we were in total lock down.”

A critical lesson in times of crisis – she went on – is the need to reach as many people as possible as quickly as possible.

“But, perhaps most importantly, experience has taught me that crises are moments to reconnect with our values.”

And here (we confess to being among the part of the audience that does not speak te reo Maori) the PM’s communicative skills faltered if she seriously intended to reach as many people as possible as quickly as possible.

“Tragedy reminds us to revisit what we stand for, and what motivates us to act as a nation with manaakitanga, whanaungatanga, kotahitanga and with purpose.”

Only the “purpose” bit of the latter part of that sentence registered with us.

Yeah, we know she was speaking our official language.  But many Maori would have had to have those words translated for them, too.

Expansion of saliva testing for frontline border workers

Is this something to “look forward to”?  Apparently yes – COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says more than 1400 of New Zealand’s border workers can look forward to less invasive testing for COVID-19, with an expansion of saliva testing at key frontline facilities.  ays.

“This is an important next step in our mandatory testing of frontline border workers,” Chris Hipkins said.

“Saliva testing will complement the nasopharyngeal swab, which remains the gold standard for testing and which has played a key role in keeping New Zealand safe.”

Health authorities are satisfied that a combination of the two tests, along with frontline managed isolation workers being close to being fully vaccinated, will continue to provide the assurances needed at the border while reducing the level of discomfort among frontline staff.

Compliance with the regime will be monitored and the saliva testing programme assessed.

A phased roll-out will begin next month with higher-risk workers who are tested weekly, prioritised first.

These workers can choose their testing regime to consist of a nasopharyngeal swab once every 14 days, instead of weekly. Saliva samples will be taken every two to three days in between nasopharyngeal swabs.

Speech

Shaping the future: Autonomous Weapons Systems

Here’s another speech from our Disarmament and Arms Control Minister, Phil Twyford, delivered to the National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at University of Otago.  Where do their graduates finish up? we wonder.

Twyford shared New Zealand’s key priorities for disarmament and non-proliferation, set against a global security environment in which he sees the re-emergence of great power rivalry, serious challenges to international law and the global rules-based order, and rapid technological change that is outpacing any potential Government response.

New Christchurch cycling connection streets ahead

Transport Minister Michael Wood and two Christchurch city councillors cut the ribbon to officially open the new Ferry Road cycle connection. The trial cycle link connects the existing Heathcote Expressway Major Cycle Route into the central city where it meets a cycleway on St Asaph Street.

Michael Wood said tackling climate change is part of the Government’s recovery plan.

“By building safe cycleways, we’re helping people to get on their bike rather than get into their car – reducing emissions and congestion.”

The government is giving councils the resources to trial new ways of making streets safer for kids and commuters. Already there are 25 Innovating Streets projects underway and 34 more on the way across the country.

The cycleway trial will be in place for about a year, with a permanent design to follow. Feedback on the trial will help to inform the design for the permanent project.

Christchurch’s ‘Hotel Give’ shovel ready project hits major milestone, delivers jobs

Housing Minister and Associate Minister of Finance Megan Woods today visited YMCA Christchurch to mark the near completion of the first stage of the refurbishment of the ‘Hotel Give’ shovel ready project, funded by the COVID-19 response fund.

“Hotel Give”, the only hotel in New Zealand where all the profits go back into the community, is delivering support for a socially sustainable business and accommodation provider as well as over one hundred jobs for Christchurch.

So far the project, set to reopen in July, has employed 59 FTEs, and is targeting 120 FTEs by project end.

All of the hotel’s profits are re-invested back into YMCA programmes and services, such as youth programmes (the 4C Centre), programmes for adults with special needs and disabilities, and rehabilitation programmes.

A key focus of the 4C Centre and many of the YMCA’s other programmes is to help young people upskill and get good jobs.

“When officials visited the site in January this year, 55 contractors said that without this project they would have had to restructure their workforce. The Crown’s $42 million investment will provide value to the community for generations to come,” said Megan Woods.

Supported by the IRG COVID-19 response funding, the scope of the rebranded ‘Hotel Give’ refurbishment is extensive. Improvements have included the building being brought up to over 90% of code, and includes re-plumbing, re-wiring, and double glazing thoughout to improve on environmental and energy efficiencies. It has also had a full aesthetic makeover.

The YMCA will now move onto stage two which includes the development of a new building on their city site, accessible to all members of the community. All of the YMCA’s city programmes and services will move into this building on completion.

One thought on “The PGF makes way for the RSPF – there’s not so much money and Maori projects will have the inside running

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