Fishing folk will be fuming after govt restricts activities in Hauraki Gulf – but greenies will be grumbling too

One of the government’s myriad of troughs has been replenished, new scholarships are being provided (for those who meet a race eligibility test), and Phil Twyford has delivered another speech about arms control.

Invitations to slurp at the trough are being issued to community organisations that can deliver energy education to households in need.  The money comes from the Support for Energy Education in Communities (SEEC) Programme.

$1.65 million is available in this second round.

In total, $7.91 million will be allocated through the SEEC Programme’s regular funding rounds until 2024.

The three new scholarships, for Maori students in vocational education and training (VET), are to be added to “the suite of prestigious Ngarimu scholarships”.

Over 300 scholarships have been awarded over the years to people such as VC medal recipient Willie Apiata, Māori academic Whatarangi Winiata, entrepreneur and Pīpī Mā founder Kristin Ross, and Māori language expert Pania Papa.

The Ngarimu VET Scholarships are worth $10,000 each. The closing date for the Ngarimu VET applications is September 1.

Twyford’s speech, to the AI Forum Executive, addressed the development of policy on autonomous weapons systems.

But here at Point of Order we suspect the issue that will generate the greatest debate –consternation in some circles – is the government’s announcement of new marine protection areas and significant restrictions on fishing.

Fishing folk are likely to be fuming at the effects of a raft of changes being put in place to protect the Hauraki Gulf.

Acting Conservation Minister Dr Ayesha Verrall said some of the world’s “most unique species” of marine life rely on a healthy Gulf.

“Most unique”? Species are either unique  – or they are not.

Whichever is true, the fishing industry – and recreational fishers – will be most upset by the strictures to be widened under the Revitalising the Gulf strategy.

Eighteen new marine protection areas are being created and a Fisheries Plan will give effect to changes to fishing practices and catch settings, including restricting trawl fishing to within carefully selected “corridors”.

But while fishing folk will be fuming, we are sure environmentalist will be grumbling that the government has not gone far enough.

Latest from the Beehive

Conservation

Bringing back the health of Hauraki Gulf

New marine protection areas and restrictions on fishing are among a raft of changes being put in place to protect the Hauraki Gulf under a new strategy, Revitalising the Gulf – Government action on the Sea Change Plan, released today.

The package includes:

  • The creation of 18 new marine protection areas and a framework to support the active restoration of some of the most biodiverse regions in the Gulf. The 18 new protected areas will increase marine protection in the Gulf almost threefold.
  • A Fisheries Plan with a range of changes to fishing practices and catch settings, including restricting trawl fishing to within carefully selected “corridors”.
  • Better monitoring to improve our understanding of the marine environment and track progress over time.
  • An expanded programme of protected species management.
  • Working together with mana whenua and local communities on local area coastal management.
  • Promoting a prosperous, sustainable aquaculture industry.

For a copy of Revitalising the Gulf – Government action on the Sea Change Plan, visit:

Arms control

Speech to AI Forum – Autonomous Weapons Systems

Disarmament and Arms Control Minister Phil Twyford, addressing the AI Forum Executive,  recalled that two months ago the government kicked off work to develop policy on autonomous weapons systems.

It has also released its wider disarmament strategy, focused  on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation; strengthening international humanitarian law; and  emerging areas of concern, particularly outer space and autonomous weapons.

The prospect of weapons that can identify, select and attack targets without human control raises fundamental legal, ethical and strategic concerns, Twyford said.

The Forum Executive has provided several questions for consideration in the development of policy:

  • Could the technology you are developing be affected by regulation?
  • What degree of human control do you consider is required to be ethically acceptable?
  • How do we ensure technology developed in New Zealand can’t be used elsewhere for harm?
  • How do we protect innovation?

Twyford said:

These, and the others put to you by the Forum Executive, are critical questions that go to the heart of our domestic policy process and our international engagement.

Foreign aid

New Zealand boosts support to Fiji for COVID-19 impact

New Zealand is providing additional support to Fiji to mitigate the effects of the current COVID-19 outbreak on vulnerable households, Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced.

The assistance includes up to $5 million for the Government to deliver COVID-19 operations, and $5 million to local civil society organisations working directly with households to mitigate poverty risks, including through the provision of food rations.

New Zealand is also embedding two medical specialists into a Medical Assistance Team (MAT) alongside Australia, to support Fiji in its COVID-19 response.

Government funding

Round 2 of successful energy education fund now open

Community organisations that can deliver energy education to households in need are being invited to apply for the second funding round of the Support for Energy Education in Communities (SEEC) Programme.

In May, $1.26 million was allocated to nine community initiatives to help struggling New Zealanders make their homes warmer, more energy efficient, and get cheaper power bills, Energy and Resources Minister Dr Megan Woods said.

$1.65 million is available in this second round, which aims to help expand the network of organisations working to empower households to lower their bills.

The SEEC Fund, can be used to prepare and deliver energy material, hold meetings to share information and advice, and train educators to provide personalised advice in-home or over the phone.

Applicants to the SEEC Fund can also apply to the SEEC Equipment and Devices Fund, which can be used to purchase low-cost items to supplement their advice to households.

A key criteria for applicants is to have established relationships with the communities they’re trying to reach so they can successfully pilot new schemes or expand existing ones.

In total, $7.91 million will be allocated through the SEEC Programme’s regular funding rounds until 2024.

Applications for funding close at 5pm, Friday 30 July.

For more information on the SEEC Programme, eligibility criteria and application details, visit www.mbie.govt.nz/seec.

Maori scholarships

New Ngarimu scholarships to target vocational training

Associate Education Minister Kelvin Davis announced three new scholarships for students in vocational education and training (VET) are to be added to the suite of prestigious Ngarimu scholarships.

Since 1948, the Ngarimu scholarships have supported Māori achievers to succeed in education and to contribute as leaders in New Zealand and overseas.

The Ngarimu VC and 28th (Māori) Battalion Memorial Scholarship provides financial assistance to exceptional applicants of Māori descent who are undertaking tertiary study and who possess characteristics that are consistent with those of the 28th (Māori) Battalion members.

The Ngarimu VET Scholarships opened to applicants yesterday and are worth $10,000 each. The closing date for the Ngarimu VET applications is September 1.

Further information about the Ngarimu VET Scholarships is available at https://www.education.govt.nz/further-education/information-for-tertiary-students/scholarships/ngarimu-scholarships/.

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