A press statement we received from Nanaia Mahuta, speaking as Minister of Foreign Affairs, dealt with the findings of an independent review into New Zealand’s export controls system, which regulates the export of goods to foreign militaries, police forces or paramilitaries.
Produced by David Smol, a former Chief Executive of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, the report calls for stiffer rules.
It found the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) has managed the export of these goods in line with legislative requirements, but the design and implementation of the system falls short of contemporary best practice in several respects.
The review is available on the MFAT website.
But statements from Mahuta of much greater concern to our wellbeing are not to be found on the Beehive website. Rather, they are to be found in Hansard’s record of proceedings during Question Time in Parliament yesterday.
She expressed an autocratic determination to press on with the Three Waters reforms, regardless of the strength of public and local authority opposition.
Here’s her response to Local Government New Zealand president Stuart Crosby’s request to her and the Prime Minister, with respect to three waters, “There needs to be more time to work through the key outstanding issues beyond the current eight weeks.”?
Hon NANAIA MAHUTA: My response to Stuart Crosby has been what it has always been: we will continue to work with local government to ensure that the water reform proposals that are being forwarded are done in partnership with the sector.
Barbara Kuriger: Will she pause or halt the three waters reforms given Local Government New Zealand and numerous mayors, councils, and communities across the country have called for her to do so, and, if not, why not?
Hon NANAIA MAHUTA: No. Pausing the conversation around the reform agenda will not change the scale, size, or complexity of the challenge confronting councils. We’ve provided evidence and research that shows that the looming costs facing councils will be unbearable by ratepayers. We’ve also highlighted the need for councils to consider this seriously, because once Taumata Arowai is stood up, higher drinking-water standards and environmental standards are enforced, the several councils that are operating their waste-water treatment plants on expired consents will significantly bear the load of infrastructure investment.
How much readiness to be conciliatory or to make concessions can be found in that?
Meanwhile, Mahuta’s colleagues were getting on with their duties on other fronts.
Housing Minister Megan Woods delivered a speech to the Property Council of New Zealand
She spelled out her government’s aim:
This Government believes everyone should be able to have a warm, secure, affordable home whether they rent or own. We have learnt through our experience in responding to COVID-19 that this is even more important now as homes also provide our first line of defence in order for people to have a safe place to isolate when needed.
A well-performing housing system is critical for our social, economic, health and environmental wellbeing.
Then she reiterated the nature of the challenges in delivering on this commitment:
But for over a decade, housing supply has not kept up with demand and there is a shortage of homes being built, especially affordable homes.
House prices are rising at record speed and we are still seeing demand for housing outstrip the rate at which supply is increasing.
Rising rents and house prices have resulted in too many people in need of housing support, living in overcrowded homes or experiencing homelessness.
She explained how the government is responding and concluded:
Addressing our housing crisis requires a multi-pronged approach that combines a responsive resource management system with more direct housing policies and solutions, including policies that are effectively targeted to those who need it most.
While we have laid the groundwork for changes, the biggest results will emerge in the medium to longer term.
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