We confess to being bemused by some of the latest Beehive announcements and pronouncements.
Auckland became a harbour of waka, in the PM’s remarks to APEC leaders who – we suspect – might not know what a waka looks like.
Then there are moves afoot to protect us – from what?
To protect us from what we might read, view or hear, it transpires.
Less puzzling was news of Government tax proposals that – it is sure – will dampen investor demand for existing houses and so bring down house prices.
“The proposals we are releasing today will help to achieve that goal,” Finance Minister Grant Robertson said.
His confidence is admirable.
Oh, and we learned how much it has cost – $30 million – to widen the footpaths of Karangahape Road and reduce the roadway to discourage emission-spewing motor vehicles by establishing cycle paths.
Nurses, meanwhile, are bridling against their pay …
But let’s return to the news from Internal Affairs Minister Jan Tinetti that…
New Zealanders will be better protected from harmful or illegal content as a result of work to design a modern, flexible and coherent regulatory framework.
At first blush, your Point of Order team was unsure what sort of content she was talking about but we did sense censorship of some sort.
We pressed valiantly on for a better understanding of how we will be protected and from what.
New Zealand currently has a content regulatory system that is comprised of six different arrangements covering some – but not all – publicly available video, audio, images and text.
“Reviewing our content regulatory arrangements is one part of the Government’s work to keep New Zealanders safer online – which includes the Christchurch Call, the amendments to the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act, and the Keep It Real Online campaign and resources,” Jan Tinetti said.
“Our existing regulatory system was designed in the early 1990s, without the internet, and focused on traditional newspapers, printed material and free-to-air TV. It is not fit for purpose, and does not have the flexibility to respond to the ongoing evolution of digital platforms.
“That’s why the Government is designing a new modern, flexible and coherent regulatory framework; to minimise the likelihood of unintentionally coming across harmful or illegal content – regardless of the way that content is delivered.
It’s not a done deal.
Communities, content providers and the Government all have a role to play in reducing harm to individuals, society and institutions, so everyone can have their say on the proposed changes, Tinetti said. They will be consulted.
Latest from the Beehive
Transport Minister Michael Wood joined Auckland mayor Phil Goff at the formal celebration of the completion of the Karangahape Road Enhancements project. The project included widening footpaths
… supporting a better outdoor dining experience for local cafes, two rainbow crossings, native planting, safe separated cycleways on both sides of the street, bike parking, and improved bus shelters and bus lanes.
Wood said the upgrades mean people can safely walk and cycle in the city, which will help people leave the car at home – reducing congestion and emissions.
Be prepared for similar developments in your community to discourage motoring:
“The Climate Change Commission’s advice highlighted one of the ways we need to tackle climate change is by encouraging more people to walk or cycle, which projects like this do.
“We want to see more of these kinds of projects across the country that support our economic recovery by creating jobs, while at the same time helping us move to a zero carbon economy. “
The PM kicked off her speech with a welcome in te reo and a bemusing translation for foreigners who might not know about waka:
To the great leaders assembled, who guided your waka through turbulent times, challenging waters and you continue to navigate your respective waka to reach the still waters of prosperity. We all gather together here in “the gathering place of the waka (Auckland). I greet you….
Ardern proceeded to talk about how New Zealand will use its chairing of APEC to help combat the challenges faced at home and abroad in responding to COVID-19.
Securing the economic recovery [she said] depends on getting the fundamentals right.
It means sound infrastructure, a thriving small business ecosystem, and growing a workforce with the right skills.
Here in New Zealand, Budget 2021 continued our strong focus on all three.
… the Government’s strategy is to support a trade-led recovery.
That’s why we are taking further steps to lift export growth, for example by ensuring New Zealand Trade and Enterprise can better support our exporters, and help shift exports from volume to value.
She noted that around three-quarters of our exports go to APEC economies and in the face of concerning global trends – isolationism, protectionism, international tensions – said APEC’s spirit of collaboration is needed now more than ever.
The Trans-Tasman bubble
New Zealand’s Quarantine Free Travel pause with Victoria will continue for a further seven days and be reviewed again next Wednesday
Everyone who is eligible can continue returning on “green flights”, meaning they will not be required to isolate when they arrive home. However they must provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test taken within three-days of departure.
Quarantine Free Travel to Queensland and New South Wales will remain in place because New Zealand public health officials deemed the risk from two new positive COVID-19 cases in Queensland to be low.
Pukemiro Primary School near Huntly will close following years of declining roll numbers, Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced.
Point of Order noted the Minister thanked the School Commissioner, Brad Totorewa, for his support through this period of change and all the staff and Board members for their contributions over the years. How many, we wonder.
Totorewa [we learned from a Stuff report} had been appointed to the school in April 2019, tasked with helping decide the school’s fate.
In his press statement yesterday, Hipkins said he had consulted with the commissioner
“ … and this decision acknowledges the fact that the few remaining students from last term are now settled at other nearby schools.”
The press statement doesn’t mention roll numbers, but when Hipkins last month announced he was undertaking a second consultation about the proposed closure of the school, Stuff reported:
Four students were on the school’s roll during term one this year. That has since dropped to one student.
The school will officially close at the end of term two, on 25 July, with a decision pending on what the site will be used for in the future.
This is the announcement that
New Zealanders will be better protected from harmful or illegal content as a result of work to design a modern, flexible and coherent regulatory framework, Minister of Internal Affairs Jan Tinetti announced today.
The Government is designing
… a new modern, flexible and coherent regulatory framework; to minimise the likelihood of unintentionally coming across harmful or illegal content – regardless of the way that content is delivered.
The review will be platform and content neutral in what it covers, the press statement says.
This means, I am not reviewing the substance of the content itself – however I am proposing to streamline the regulations to treat content the same way regardless of if it’s posted on a website, shared on Facebook, available on demand, printed in a newspaper, or aired on a TV screen.
“The current system is confusing for content providers and consumers – consumers have no single complaints process, and some content providers are regulated by multiple regimes.
“The regulatory framework will balance harm-reduction with protecting democratic freedoms – including freedom of expression, freedom of speech, and freedom of the press. I do not intend to change the threshold for limitations on freedom of expression, and it will remain appropriately high.”
Initial targeted consultation with key regulatory organisations, media groups, government agencies and specialist interest groups will begin shortly, before wider stakeholder and public consultation in early 2022.
The Government has confirmed new builds will be exempt from planned changes to the tax treatment of residential investment property.
Public consultation is now open on details of the proposals, which stop interest deductions being claimed for residential investment properties other than new builds.
The Government’s aim is to encourage more sustainable house prices, by dampening investor demand for existing housing stock to improve affordability for first-home buyers.
“The proposals we are releasing today will help to achieve that goal,” Finance Minister Grant Robertson said.
“This is part of the Government’s move to cool the property market. A more sustainable housing market supports more first-home buyers to get into their own home but also protects our recovering economy. So we all benefit.”
Consultation closes on 12 July. The measures will be introduced into Parliament later this year but will apply from 1 October.
The discussion document Design of the interest limitation rule and additional bright-line rules will be available at https://taxpolicy.ird.govt.nz/publications/2021/2021-dd-interest-limitation-and-bright-line-rules and accompanying summary sheets at taxpolicy.ird.govt.nz.
The consultation document proposes:
- Deductions for interest expenses on residential properties will be restricted from 1 October 2021.
- Interest deductibility on a mortgage on a residential investment property acquired before 27 March 2021 will be gradually phased out between 1 October 2021 and 31 March 2025. Non-grandparented interest would immediately cease to be deductible from 1 October 2021.
- Interest deductibility on a residential investment property acquired on or after 27 March would immediately cease to be deductible from 1 October 2021, unless an exemption applies.
- Property development and new builds would be exempt from the interest limitation rules. In addition, new builds would be subject to a five year brightline test, rather than the ten year test.
- Non-residential properties (for example commercial or industrial properties) would not be subject to the new rules. Also excluded would be employee accommodation, farmland, care facilities such as hospitals, convalescent homes, nursing homes, and hospices, commercial accommodation such as hotels, motels and boarding houses retirement villages and rest homes.
- The main home would not be affected by the new rules. Interest related to any income-earning use of an owner-occupier’s main home such as a flatting situation would continue to be deductible.
- Community housing providers will not be affected by the interest limitation rules if they are charities or otherwise tax exempt. The Government also proposes to exempt Kāinga Ora and its wholly owned subsidiaries from the interest limitation rules.