Belarus pays penalty for ignoring concerns about its electoral and human rights record – NZ bans its leaders from travelling here

New Zealand has imposed travel bans on 50 individuals associated with the Lukashenko regime in Belarus elections.  Among those in the naughty books are the President and key members of his Administration, the Electoral Commission, the police and other security forces.

This will show ‘em we mean business, if they can’t or won’t clean up their act on the international human rights front.

On the sea front, up to 300 inshore commercial fishing vessels are to be fitted with on-board cameras by 2024 as part of the Government’s commitment to protect the natural marine environment.  The cost:  it  is expected to be $68 million over the next four years.

The news many people had been anxiously awaiting – not the anti-vaxxers, of course – is a rough timetable for rolling out the Covid-19 vaccine.

Then came Justice Minister Kris Faafoi’s announcement of a review of New Zealand’s 66-year-old adoption laws.

The  press statement lists issues of particular concern to the government, which

 “. .. is seeking views on six key issues, including what is adoption and who is involved, cultural aspects of adoption (including whāngai), how the adoption process works in New Zealand and offshore, the impacts of adoption, and the adoption process works where a child is born by surrogacy”.

The Treaty (or Tiriti) is not mentioned in the press statement but looms large in the considerations of the discussion document released by the Ministry of Justice, titled Adoption in Aotearoa New Zealand, and intended to assist people in submitting on the review.

The discussion paper says:

 Te Tiriti provides further context for considering the suitability of Aotearoa New Zealand’s current adoption laws. For example, Article Two of te Tiriti provides Māori the right to make decisions over resources and taonga.

In te ao Māori, tamariki are viewed as a taonga who belong to the wider whānau, hapū and iwi.

 As taonga, tamariki should be nurtured and treasured. This means taking account of the physical and mental wellbeing of tamariki, as well as considering their wellbeing holistically.

This includes their taha whānau (social wellbeing) and taha wairua (spiritual wellbeing).

 Current adoption laws don’t recognise the impacts of adoption on tamariki, including the impacts it can have on future generations. The laws also don’t recognise the importance of whakapapa ties and the need to protect cultural heritage and identity, which are also considered taonga.

It is important that any changes to adoption laws take account of te Tiriti and that thought is given to how those changes may impact Māori.

Elsewhere the discussion paper says:

Adoption can have significant and lifelong effects on people, and some may experience feelings of loss and grief. Adoption can affect them in ways that many people see as essential to their personal identity, such as their culture and language.

This may be more pronounced where a child is adopted outside of their culture. In particular, tamariki Māori adopted into non-Māori whānau can become disconnected from their culture and find it hard to connect to their whakapapa and whenua. This experience of cultural disconnection can be passed through to the next generations.

Latest from the Beehive


Adoption laws under review

New Zealand’s 66-year-old adoption laws are being reviewed, with public engagement beginning today.

Justice Minister Kris Faafoi said the Government is seeking views on options for change to our adoption laws and system.

“The Adoption Act has remained largely the same since 1955. We need our adoption laws to reflect the values and needs of contemporary New Zealand,” Kris Faafoi said.

“Adoption has significant and lifelong effects on the children involved, so our laws should have the rights of children at their heart.”

Public consultation starts today and will run until 31 August.

The Government will embark on a second round of engagement after working through submissions and developing a set of policy proposals for reform based on public feedback.

Fishing industry

Wider roll-out of cameras on boats to support sustainability and protect marine life

Up to 300 inshore commercial fishing vessels will be fitted with on-board cameras by 2024 as part of the Government’s commitment to protect the natural marine environment for future generations.

Oceans and Fisheries Minister David Parker announced the funding is now in place for the wider roll out of on-board cameras, delivering on a promise made at the 2020 election.

The cost of the roll-out is expected to be $68 million over the next four years.

An initial camera rollout for 20 vessels in the Māui dolphin habitats off the North Island took place in 2019. This wider rollout will extend to commercial fisheries around the country.

Parker said:

 “On-board cameras will provide independent, accurate information about commercial fishing activity. That will provide greater certainty and more evidence on which to base decisions about policy and regulation, scientific research, and fisheries management.”

Cameras will work together with the digital tracking and reporting already in place to provide an important layer of transparency.

The roll-out will be staged to prioritise vessels that pose the greatest risk to protected species such as Hector’s and Māui dolphins, black petrels and Antipodean albatross.

When complete, cameras will record activity on vessels responsible for about 85 per cent of the inshore catch by volume.


Plan for vaccine rollout for general population announced

New Zealanders over 60 will be offered a vaccination from July 28 and those over 55 from August 11, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced.

The rollout of the vaccine to the general population will be done in age groups, with those over 45 years to receive vaccine invitations from mid to late August, those over 35 years from mid to late September, and everyone else being eligible from October.

“Our vaccination programme is ahead of plan, with nearly one million doses administered and operating at 107% of target,” Jacinda Ardern said.

“From the end of July we will enter a new phase of our vaccination programme when we start receiving the bulk of our vaccines and are able to broaden the rollout considerably to the wider population.”

Foreign affairs

New Zealand introduces Belarus travel bans

New Zealand has imposed travel bans on selected individuals associated with the Lukashenko regime, following ongoing concerns about election fraud and human rights abuses after the 2020 Belarus elections, Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta has announced.

The ban covers more than 50 individuals, including the President and key members of his Administration, the Electoral Commission, the police and other security forces.

“New Zealand has made it clear that the Lukashenko regime’s actions are unacceptable,” Nanaia Mahuta said.

“New Zealand is joining our partners to prevent the granting of visas to specific individuals involved in these abuses.

“We have also expressed our strong concern about the forced landing of a Ryanair plane on 23 May and the arrest of journalist Roman Protasevich and his partner Sofia Sapega. We welcome the launching of an investigation into this incident by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).”

The bans prevent targeted individuals from obtaining visas to enter or transit New Zealand.

The government will update and revise the list of those covered by the bans based on future developments.

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