The govt pumps $24.2m into job programmes – but look how the Treaty (or something) has determined the allocations

Young Maori should do nicely, thank you, from funding numbers bandied today by Social Development and Employment Minister Carmel Sepuloni.

And non-Maori young people?

Sorry.  They don’t loom so large in the distribution of Sepuloni’s largess.    

The Minister announced that more than 800 jobseekers will be supported on pathways into employment, education and training through funding into the Māori Trades and Training Fund (MTTF) and He Poutama Rangatahi projects.

The numbers she bandied in dollars terms add up to $24.2 million.

But ethnicity will be the critical factor in determining who benefits.  The lion’s share of the investment, almost 77%, is going into the Māori Trades and Training Fund.

Sepuloni said this will support over 500 Māori job seekers into employment and training opportunities, with $18.576 million committed to a range of new and existing projects.

The rest of the nation’s young people can’t complain they have been overlooked.

The Government is investing $5.6 million to help over 300 young people overcome barriers to employment, education and training through further funding into He Poutama Rangatahi (and we assume non-Maori are intended to benefit from this programme).

But whoa.  Which is the more generous programme for each trainee? 

Our quick analysis suggests $37,152 will be invested in each of 500 young people under the Maori Trades and Training Fund, whereas  $18,666.67 will be invested in each of 300 young people under He Poutama Rangatahi.

This – we suppose – is what the government regards as a fair carve-up of its training funds under its interpretation of the Treaty partnership.   

The second of the two programmes has been given a te reo name which has not been translated in the press statement.  Presumably we are expected to be familiar with those words. 

The ministry website is more helpful:   

He Poutama Rangatahi – Youth Employment Pathways

He Poutama Rangatahi is a cross-agency initiative aimed at rangatahi (the younger generation) who are most at risk of long-term unemployment and who may need extra individualised and ongoing support to connect to training and employment. He Poutama Rangatahi also supports employers to help meet the needs of rangatahi.

Funding for both programmes is now administered by the Ministry of Social Development.  Projects have previously been funded by both the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and the Provincial Growth Fund.

Another fresh Beehive announcement suggests the Minister of Energy and Resources,  Megan Woods, was keen to deliver good news after the embarrassment of the power failure on Monday. 

She is enthusing that new regulations which take effect today, including terminal gate pricing, will benefit motorists and smaller fuel companies.

 A terminal gate pricing regime will improve competition in the wholesale market by making it easier for fuel companies to access fuel more cheaply and in more locations, she explained.

Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister David Clark was bringing good news, too.  

Legislation to protect consumers and business against unfair commercial practices has passed its third reading in Parliament.

The Fair Trading Amendment Bill targets the use of pressure tactics, deception, one-sided contract terms and practices that exploit the vulnerabilities of a consumer or small business.

“We are tightening the screws on unfair and dishonest business activity, which has no place at any point in time, but especially as our economy recovers from the impact of COVID-19,” Clark said.

Businesses that are found to act unconscionably will face fines of up to $600,000, and those breaching the rules around uninvited direct sales could face penalties of up to $30,000.

Justice Minister Kris Faafoi was enthusing about new legislation, too, after the Family Court (Supporting Children in Court) Legislation Bill passing its third reading. 

This amends the Care of Children Act and the Family Dispute Resolution Act to establish children’s participation as a guiding principle.

“The Bill will enhance children’s participation in proceedings that affect them. It will help children feel supported and informed as they move through the family justice process,” said Justice Minister Faafoi.

Other Beehive statements tell us:

  • Indonesia and Fiji have been designated as very high risk, which limits travel from them to New Zealand, because of escalating COVID-19 case numbers.
  • The Government has released the expert advice of the Strategic Covid-19 Public Health Advisory Group led by Professor Sir David Skegg on how to approach the reopening of New Zealand’s borders.
  • The Reserve Bank of New Zealand Bill was passed following the third reading in Parliament.  It aims to modernise the Reserve Bank Act.
  • Disarmament and Arms Control Minister Phil Twyford delivered another speech about what he does in this portfolio.
  • Regulations to protect young people and non-smokers from the risks associated with vaping have been announced. 

Latest from the Beehive

Covid-19

Fiji and Indonesia designated very high risk countries due to COVID-19 risk

As of 11:59pm (NZT) on 15 August 2021, travel to New Zealand from Indonesia and Fiji will be restricted to New Zealand citizens, their partners and children, and parents of dependent children who are New Zealand citizens (together with any children of those parents who are not New Zealand Citizens).

Other travellers from very high-risk countries, including New Zealand residents, are required to spend 14 days outside a very high-risk country before flying to New Zealand.

Government releases expert advice on Reconnecting New Zealanders

The Government has released the expert advice of the Strategic Covid-19 Public Health Advisory Group led by Professor Sir David Skegg on how to approach the reopening of New Zealand’s borders.

The report …  

  • Recommends a phased re-opening of the border;
  • Says the more-infectious Delta variant requires high vaccine uptake before the border can be safely opened;
  • Suggests risk-based factors be taken into account at the border such as vaccination status and Covid-19 prevalence in countries visited;
  • Confirms the viability of maintaining the elimination strategy.

The Group, chaired by Sir David Skegg, comprises experts in epidemiology, infectious diseases and public health, and has provided independent advice on our ongoing COVID-19 response.

Job training 

Government delivering more pathways into mahi for jobseekers

More than 800 jobseekers will be supported on pathways into employment, education and training through funding into the Māori Trades and Training Fund (MTTF) and He Poutama Rangatahi projects.

 The MTTF will support over 500 Māori job seekers into employment and training opportunities, with $18.576 million committed to a range of new and existing projects.

The latest tranche of investment will help to fill the demand for skilled workers, improve employment, social and family outcomes, and contribute to the workforce that is helping build the Government’s 18,000 Kainga Ora homes.

Government is also investing $5.6 million to help over 300 rangatahi overcome barriers to employment, education and training through further funding into He Poutama Rangatahi (HPR).

HPR has been expanded to urban areas, where the largest numbers of young people not in employment, education or training live.

Competition laws

New fuel regulations come into force

Motorists and smaller fuel companies are set to benefit from a more competitive market as new regulations, including terminal gate pricing, take effect from today, says Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods.

A terminal gate pricing regime will improve competition in the wholesale market by making it easier for fuel companies to access fuel more cheaply and in more locations, Woods said.

The new measures include a dispute resolution scheme and rules to ensure contracts between wholesale fuel suppliers and their wholesale customers are fair.

The regulations support legislation that was passed last year (The Fuel Industry Act 2020) after a Government-ordered fuel market study conducted by the Commerce Commission found fuel companies had been making higher profits than expected in a workable competitive market.

A requirement for retail fuel sites to display premium fuel prices on forecourt price boards will come into effect by 11 February next year and regulations requiring fuel companies to collect and disclose certain information are currently being developed to assist with monitoring of the fuel market, Woods said.

Fair trading legislation

Bill cracking down on unfair commercial practices passes third reading

Legislation to protect New Zealand consumers and business against unfair commercial practices has passed its third reading in Parliament.

The Fair Trading Amendment Bill targets the use of pressure tactics, deception, one-sided contract terms and practices that exploit the vulnerabilities of a consumer or small business.

The Bill adds to the existing protections put in place under the Fair Trading Act 1986 by:

  • Prohibiting unconscionable conduct in trade
  • Extending unfair contract term protections to include small trade contracts worth $250,000 a year or less.
  • Legally empowering consumers and businesses to demand uninvited sellers, such as door-to-door salespeople, to leave their property, including using “do not knock” stickers.

Businesses that are found to act unconscionably will face fines of up to $600,000, and those breaching the rules around uninvited direct sales could face penalties of up to $30,000.

Family Court 

Bill to better support children in the Family Court passes third reading

Justice Minister Kris Faafoi has welcomed the Family Court (Supporting Children in Court) Legislation Bill passing its third reading. 

The Bill amends the Care of Children Act and the Family Dispute Resolution Act to establish children’s participation as a guiding principle.

It will also reinforce expectations that people should be protected from family violence and expand lawyers’ duties in care of children proceedings.

Lawyers will be required to promote early resolution where appropriate, and lawyers representing children will have a legal requirement to explain the nature of proceedings to the children they represent.

The Bill also establishes legislative criteria for the appointment of a child’s lawyer to enable more effective representation of the child’s interests. It requires that, so far as is reasonable, the lawyer has the appropriate experience, training, personality and cultural background to represent the child.

The Family Court (Supporting Children in Court) Legislation Bill forms part of an ongoing programme of work responding to Te Korowai Ture ā-Whānau independent panel’s report, which examined the effectiveness of 2014 family justice reforms.

Related Documents

Monetary policy 

Reserve Bank Bill passes third reading

The update and strengthening of the Reserve Bank’s decision-making and accountability arrangements will bolster New Zealand’s financial system and make it fit for purpose to address monetary and financial policy issues now and in the future, Grant Robertson said after the Reserve Bank of New Zealand Bill was passed following the third reading in Parliament.

The legislation modernises the Reserve Bank Act, more than 30 years old.  The reforms support and protect the Reserve Bank’s independence while ensuring it operates in an accountable and transparent manner, Robertson said.

The government had previously passed legislation to modernise the Reserve Bank’s monetary policy objectives and decision-making processes. The latest Bill, the second in a series of significant legislative reforms, will provide the foundational framework for the Reserve Bank’s new institutional arrangements.

Key features include:

  • Strengthening decision-making: all decisions other than monetary policy will be made by a board rather than a single decision-maker – with the Governor as a member of the board;
  • Reframing the financial stability objective to “protecting and promoting the stability of New Zealand’s financial system”, which will provide better clarity;
  • Ensuring operational independence is balanced with appropriate accountability – with changes to update the Reserve Bank’s accountability and reporting frameworks, such as aligning with the Crown Entity framework requirements for statements of intent and annual reports;
  • Providing for a Financial Policy Remit to be issued by the Minister, setting out matters to which the Reserve Bank board must have regard;
  • Changes to the funding model to promote transparency and allow for appropriate recovery of costs, through industry levies and fees;
  • Providing the Minister with the ability to direct the Bank to maintain a minimum level of capital; and
  • Providing the Council of Financial Regulators with a statutory mandate to support effective and responsive regulation of the financial system, by facilitating cooperation and coordination between its members.

After the Bill has been given Royal Assent, there will be a transition period to prepare for the new arrangements ahead of an anticipated commencement date of 1 July 2022.

The third and final Bill in this set of reforms – the Deposit Takers Bill – is expected to be introduced into Parliament in early 2022. 

Arms control 

Remarks at Dialogue on Autonomous Weapons Systems and Human Control

Phil Twyford, Minister of Disarmament and Arms Control, made these remarks “at tonight’s event”, which he has not identified in his press release.  But he extended his thanks to Mary Wareham of Human Rights Watch – and formerly the coordinator of the International Campaign to Ban Killer Robots – for bringing the gathering together. 

Making sure autonomous weapons systems are appropriately regulated internationally is one of his key priorities as Disarmament Minister and is reflected in New Zealand’s new disarmament strategy, Twyford said.

The government recently commissioned a national survey of 2000 kiwis to gauge their understanding of autonomous weapons systems, their views about the use of these systems in war, and their perceptions of the benefits and risks.

72% of those surveyed opposed the use of autonomous weapons in war, with half strongly against their use. This puts New Zealand third highest in a group of 28 countries surveyed by Human Rights Watch, with the third greatest level of opposition to autonomous weapons systems.

A range of concerns were expressed. 60% are concerned that they would be subject to technical failures. More than half think they cross a moral line because machines should not be allowed to kill, and a similar number are worried about a lack of accountability. On the flipside, a quarter of participants saw some merit in their potential to enhance military capability, reduce harm and injury to military personnel and to reduce human error.

Health 

New Zealand voices shape vaping regulations

Regulations to protect young people and non-smokers from the risks associated with vaping have been announced by Associate Minister of Health Dr Ayesha Verrall.

The scope of the Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products Act 1990 was expanded in November, to regulate vaping and vaping products.

The new regulations cover vaping packaging, product safety, and the responsibilities of manufacturers and importers selling vaping products or smokeless tobacco products.

The regulations will be phased in from today, along with previously announced action including banning generic retailers such as dairies, service stations and supermarkets from selling vaping products in flavours other than tobacco, mint and menthol. Only specialist vape retailers will be able to sell other flavours.

From 28 November, vaping and smoking in motor vehicles carrying children will be banned.

 

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