Govt plaudits for Lisa Carrington shouldn’t bother the public – whitebaiters won’t be so chuffed about new regulations

Ministers sometimes can bask in the satisfaction of releasing a press statement which is unlikely to provoke political opponents to find fault with the announcement or anger some sections of the community.

Sport and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson issued such a statement yesterday, when he congratulated New Zealand Olympic kayaker Lisa Carrington on her exceptional performance at the Tokyo Olympics which has led to her becoming the most decorated New Zealand Olympian.

“Lisa is a phenomenal athlete. To win the K1 200m three Olympics in a row, and to add both the K2 500 gold with Caitlyn Regal earlier this week and the K1 500 gold today is an exceptional effort. She is tough, resilient and remarkable, and deservedly the most decorated New Zealand Olympian,” Grant Robertson said.

He also congratulated the New Zealand Olympic Team for its outstanding performance in these Olympics. With a total of 17 medals so far, including a record number of seven Gold medals, they are on the road to a possible record medal haul.

Conservation Minister Kiritapu Allan, on the other hand, is bound to have rankled whitebaiters with her announcement that the 2021 whitebaiting season is about to kick off with new regulations in place to help ensure a healthy future for the fishery.

The Games seem to have inspired other ministerial announcements.

“Training” became big deal for Economic and Regional Develpoment Minister Stuart Nash.  He announced the launch of a training programme to support jobs and businesses in the engineering and manufacturing sector in the lower South Island,

Health Minister Andrew Little had “performance” in mind.

He announced 12 indicators have been developed to measure performance of the health sector.  Progress in meeting them will be publicly reported every three months.

It has been a busy day or two for Little, as it was for Coddington, because he also

  • Delivered a speech to the Royal College of General Practitioners,
  • Announced the establishment of “a one-off defined mental health innovation fund to further expand the support available to those who need it”.  This $1.2-million fund pilot project is part of Budget 2019’s $1.9-billion wellbeing investment

On close inspection, the pilot project looks like a trough.  The $1.2-million  is up for grabs “for one-off defined proposals that could contribute to improving mental wellbeing… “

A new trough was needed because – as Little explains –

A number of requests for financial assistance from non-government organisations, iwi and other groups to support mental wellbeing initiatives are regularly received by the Ministry of Health, but do not necessarily fit into existing tenders. This fund is another way the Government can look to support these programmes.

“Performance” was the buzz word for Megan Woods  (Housing) and Poto Williams (Building and Construction).  They  declared they were aiming to lift the performance of people working in their sector by launching the Construction Sector Accord Network.

Associate Minister of Education, Aupito William Sio won’t be dishing out gold, silver or bronze medals, but she did announce the establishment of the ‘Tulī Takes Flight’ scholarships.

This is part of the goodwill gesture of reconciliation to accompany the Government’s apology to Pacific families and communities impacted by the Dawn Raids.

Latest from the Beehive

Health

New innovation fund for more mental health initiatives

The government has set up a one-off defined mental health innovation fund to further expand the support available to those who need it, Health Minister Andrew Little says.

The $1.2-million Mental Wellbeing Innovation Fund pilot project is for one-off defined proposals that could contribute to improving mental wellbeing, including initiatives that focus on reducing suicidal distress or behaviour.”

The  project is part of Budget 2019’s $1.9-billion wellbeing investment

Training

New training scheme for lower South Island engineering sector

An innovative training programme to support jobs and businesses in the engineering and manufacturing sector in the lower South Island has been officially launched in Balclutha.

Economic and Regional Development Minister Stuart Nash has opened a new skills training academy established with an initial investment of $495,000 from the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF).

The Southland and Otago Regional Engineering Collective (SOREC) was established in 2020 with operational costs met by the PGF.  It is focused on growing the region’s manufacturing and engineering sector, including training a skilled workforce.

The PGF has also supported 34 engineering and manufacturing businesses in Otago-Southland with grants worth $6.9 million to upgrade to more productive and efficient machinery in order to meet growing demand.

The investments by Government in the SOREC programme; Clutha Community Hub; and Tokomairiro Forestry training course visited by Nash are:

  • A grant of $495,000 from the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) for overheads and operational costs for the SOREC.
  • Grants of $6.9 million from the PGF for 34 engineering and manufacturing businesses in Southland and Otago to upgrade to more efficient machinery.
  • A grant of $5,000 from the PGF to help SOREC engineering students buy personal protective equipment and gear needed for their training.
  • A grant of $7.4 million to the Clutha Community Hub Charitable Trust from the COVID Response and Recovery Fund (Infrastructure Reference Group, ‘shovel ready’ projects)
  • Two grants worth $88,000 for Tokomairiro High School in Milton from the former Provincial Development Unit in MBIE; and $25,000 from the Ministry of Social Development, to support young people into training and jobs in the forestry industry.

Health

Speech to Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners Conference 2021

Health Minister Andrew Little said general practice and primary care are fundamental pillars of our health service – it is the ‘front door’ to the health system for most people.

Among other issues, he discussed the shortage of GPs, the rising levels of workforce burnout and the increasing demand from patients with increasingly complicated health conditions.

Environment

Speech to the Environmental Defence Society annual conference

Conservation Minister Kiritapu Allan delivered this speech, outlining the Government’s conservation reform agenda and introducing Conserving Nature, a new EDS report which has which provides insight into the key issues surrounding our conservation legislation.

 Conservation

New regs on stream for whitebait season

The 2021 whitebaiting season is about to begin with new regulations intended to herald a more equitable fishery, easing the pressure on whitebait species while providing better alignment and consistency of fishing rules across the country.

The new regulations, announced in June, follow two years of public engagement and will be rolled out over three whitebaiting seasons, making it easier for whitebaiters to adjust.

The season opens on 15 August, with the exception of the West Coast, where it opens on 1 September.

Regulations taking effect in 2021

Upstream limits for whitebaiting

    • Upstream limits to fishing apply to all Aotearoa New Zealand. Whitebait fishing is only allowed where water levels are affected by the tide. Back pegs will mark this point in some rivers.

New refuges

    • New refuges are within and near Abel Tasman and southern Fiordland National Parks, to supplement those already in place on the West Coast. Refuges are areas where fishing for whitebait is prohibited.
    • We chose sites beside national parks because they have high-quality adult fish habitats. Healthy sites can support more whitebait.

Fishing methods

    • Screens are the only lawful diversion device and are limited to 3 m maximum length, except when used from stands.
    • Minimum distance of 20 m between fixed fishing gear, except when used from stands.
    • Only one fishing net can be used from a stand.
    • Maximum length of all fishing gear cannot exceed a quarter of a channel’s width.
    • Fixed fishing gear is gear set on the riverbed to catch fish, except when used from stands. Fixed fishing gear doesn’t need a person to hold it or actively move it to catch fish.

Regulations taking effect from 2022

    • A nationally consistent shortened whitebait fishing season from 1 September to 30 October.
    • The whitebait season currently extends over three different time periods around New Zealand. The nationally standardised shorter season will reduce fishing pressure on the most threatened species of whitebait during their peak migration period.
    • The Chatham Islands will retain their separate fishing season.

Regulations taking effect from 2023

    • Including the West Coast into the maximum overall length limit for fishing gear of 6 m nationwide. This includes from stands.

Visit DOC’s website for information on the whitebaiting season including the new regulations: www.doc.govt.nz/whitebaiting.

Health

 Health Indicators will track better care for all NZers

Health Minister Andrew Little has announced the system that will be used to hold the reformed health system t accountable and ensure it delivers more equitable healthcare for all New Zealanders.

The Health System Indicators framework will complement the reforms.

Twelve indicators have been developed and progress in meeting them will be publicly reported on every three months.

The indicators replace the National Health Targets regime.

Sport 

Govt congratulates Lisa Carrington on becoming NZ’s most decorated Olympian

Sport and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson has congratulated New Zealand Olympic kayaker Lisa Carrington on her exceptional performance at the Tokyo Olympics which has led to her becoming the most decorated New Zealand Olympian.

Robertson has also congratulated the New Zealand Olympic Team for their outstanding performance in these Olympics. With a total of 17 medals so far, including a record number of seven Gold medals, they are on the road to a possible record medal haul.

“This is our biggest ever Olympic team, and every single one of them has done us proud. Given the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the lead-up to these Games has been incredibly challenging for all the athletes involved. People talk a lot about the importance of resilience in high performance sport, and this team have all shown they have that in spades.”

Construction 

Construction sector transformation continues with Network launch

Housing Minister Hon Dr Megan Woods and Building and Construction Minister Poto Williams have launched the Construction Sector Accord Network.

Designed to bring the sector together to lift performance and drive change, the Network is a collective of businesses, government agencies and other organisations committed to a higher performing construction industry.

The network gives members a clear set of expectations around practices and behaviours for members to aspire to or to uphold.

The construction sector is New Zealand’s fourth largest employer, responsible for around 10% of our country’s total workforce, or 250,000 people, and contributes around 7% of GDP.

Both Ministers encouraged all organisations in the sector to play their part by joining the Network.

There is no cost to join the Network. Organisations can join by visiting the Accord website’s Get involved page, or by using the URL www.constructionaccord.nz/network

 Scholarships

The ‘Tulī Takes Flight’ scholarships announced

The Associate Minister of Education, Aupito William Sio, has announced the establishment of the ‘Tulī Takes Flight’ scholarships as part of the goodwill gesture of reconciliation to accompany the Government’s apology to Pacific families and communities impacted by the Dawn Raids.

The scholarships will be offered to New Zealand citizens of indigenous Pacific heritage.

Every year, up to 12 scholarships, valued between $10,000 and $30,000, will be made available. To mark the inaugural year, there will be a total of 30 scholarships for study commencing in 2022. The first round of applications opens in September 2021. The scholarships will be awarded for a minimum of one year and a maximum of three years.

The scholarships, worth $2.1 million, are funded by the Ministry of Education and will be administered by the Pacific Education Foundation. Further information is available on the Ministry of Education website. https://www.education.govt.nz/further-education/information-for-tertiary-students/scholarships/tuli

Study or training can include vocational and academic courses at Levels 4 to 10 on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework: certificates or diplomas, degree-level study and post-graduate study.

 

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