On the home front, the Government has pitched in $600,000 to help the recovery for people affected by the weekend’s violent weather and welcomed the New Zealand Nurses Organisation’s decision to take the Government’s improved pay offer to members and to lift strike notices.
Internationally, the PM has had a chat with President Biden and chaired an APEC leaders’ meeting on Covid-19 and conference.
And her government is providing $2 million (more than has been committed so far for the relief of weekend weather victims) to help Pacific businesses.
At the weekend we expanded on the PM’s chat with Biden (see HERE).
Now, at Point of Order, we are braced for this week’s news from the Beehive.
Latest from the Beehive
The Government is contributing $600,000 to help residents affected by the weekend’s violent weather with recovery efforts.
Acting Minister for Emergency Management Kris Faafoi and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor have been in the Buller district at the weekend to assess flood damage and support the local response effort.
They have announced an initial contribution of $300,000 towards a Buller Mayoral Relief Fund and another $100,000 towards a similar fund for Marlborough.
Alongside that the event has been classified a medium-scale adverse event, unlocking another $200,000 for flood-affected farmers and growers across the West Coast and Marlborough regions.
Mayoral Relief Funds provide an additional way to help communities bounce back after an emergency. Local communities and councils are well-placed to know exactly what they need so this funding can be used, for example, to meet the needs of affected families and individuals, community organisations or marae. The funds are in addition to other support that people may be eligible for through the Ministry of Social Development and Ministry for Primary Industries.
The national Feed Coordination Service can help connect farmers with surplus supplementary feed listed for sale. Farmers needing feed support are encouraged to call 0800 FARMING (0800 32 76 46). Farmers who need wellbeing support should call their Rural Support Trust on 0800 RURAL HELP or 0800 787 254.
What’s an adverse event? The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) makes the classification, usually following an approach by the community. There are three adverse events – localised, medium and large-scale. These cover things like droughts, floods, fire, earthquakes and other natural disasters and take into account the magnitude of the event, the ability to prepare for it and the capacity of the community to cope.
Assistance measures can include:
- Resourcing for rural recovery co-ordination.
- Resource for on-farm farm clean-up. This could involve the co-ordination of volunteers or the use of Enhanced Taskforce Green.
- A boost for the local Rural Support Trust to help serve their communities with pastoral care, including organising local events and arranging recovery facilitators who work one-to-one with farmers and growers.
- Technology transfer activities and events.
Other usual recovery measures, which may include tax flexibility and income assistance options, can be made available as appropriate.
Acting Minister of Emergency Management Kris Faafoi says Central Government is monitoring the severe weather across the country, and is ready to provide further support to those affected if necessary.
“Central Government will fully reimburse local authorities for costs incurred in caring for people who have had to evacuate their homes.
“This is an unsettling time for those affected. Please look after each other, put safety first, and listen to the advice of local authorities and Civil Defence Emergency Management Groups,” Kris Faafoi said.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has chaired a meeting of Leaders representing the 21 APEC economies.
The discussions focused on all aspects of contributing to the global vaccination effort – making vaccines, sharing vaccines and using vaccines.
They are pushing for collaborative and practical solutions on safely reconnecting with the world by continuing to explore options including vaccine passports, travel green lanes and quarantine-free travel bubbles.
Leaders discussed a range of other matters relating to the pandemic including:
- Individual domestic approaches to the ongoing management of COVID-19;
- The evolving strains and health dimensions of COVID-19, with APEC helping speed the flow of vaccines;
- Fiscal and monetary tools available to sustain economies through the pandemic, with the importance of keeping markets open to one another.
The New Zealand Nurses Organisation’s decision to take the Government’s improved pay offer to members and to lift strike notices is a positive move towards settling district health board nurses’ pay claims, Health Minister Andrew Little said.
“It’s encouraging that the discussions between NZNO and DHBs over the nurses’ employment agreement have resulted in a new offer that will go out to nurses, and that the union has lifted strike notices for July 29 and 30,” he said.
Nurses had voted to hold strikes in July, August and September in support of their pay claims.
Separate to pay negotiations, Little said he has been pressing officials
“.. to put together a comprehensive and principled offer on pay equity and we are a month away from tabling something that means we can address the long-standing historical unfairness that nurses have faced.
“Nurses have been under-paid for years, largely because it’s a female-dominated profession.”
Pacific businesses will get a much-needed financial boost as they recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic thanks to the new Pacific Aotearoa Regional Enterprise Fund, said Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio.
The new $2 million fund will co-invest in Pacific business projects and initiatives to create jobs, increase productivity and stimulate growth in the regions.
“These direct investments aim to quickly provide existing Pacific regional businesses with capital to increase productivity and participation in regional economic development initiatives.
“It will also help scale up businesses to transition, diversify and participate in sectors crucial for the recovery and rebuild of the economy,” Minister Sio says.
The Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment’s Kānoa – Regional Economic Development & Investment Unit will transfer $2 million to the Ministry for Pacific Peoples (MPP) for the fund.
Visit the MPP website for more information on the Pacific Aotearoa Regional Enterprise Fund and to apply.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern spoke with US President Biden on Friday, ahead of the APEC Informal Leaders’ Retreat on COVID-19.
They discussed the forthcoming APEC leaders meeting, the critical importance of working together as a region to navigate out of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the stability of the Indo-Pacific region. Ardern thanked Biden for the United States joining the Christchurch Call, providing momentum to the work to eradicate violent extremist content online.