The Treaty gives government a tonic to deal to family violence – but science is called on to deal with Myrtle rust

Vaccine announcements have dominated news from the Beehive over the past few days, but while the vaccine deals to Covid,  the Treaty of Waitangi has been prescribed to deal to family violence.

ACC minister Carmel Sepuloni announced the ACC is investing $44.9 million over four years to establish “a fit-for-purpose sexual violence primary prevention system”.

This is bound to be successful because it is based on the Treaty, a document signed in 1840 comprising just three articles.  But when interpreted by the Ardern governmnent,  this document holds the key to ridding us (apparently) of pretty well anything from warts to citizens’ rights to challenge local authorities’ race-based governance proposals.

And so:

“The new Te-Tiriti-informed primary prevention system announced today, will provide long-term, sustained investment and enhance our Government’s effort to prevent sexual violence.

“The package includes $11.715 million of targeted investment for kaupapa Māori approaches. It will enhance the primary prevention system in Aotearoa New Zealand.”

Who provides the money?

Most of us, we imagine, although when it comes  to determining who should be given priority in the spending of this money, the government unabashedly brings race into calculations.

“As Treaty partners, ACC will prioritise Māori and partner with whānau, hapū, iwi and Māori communities,” Associate Minister for ACC Willie Jackson said.

But whoa.

The government today acknowledged that science and scientists (who are not mentioned in the Treaty, by the way) have their uses.

Conservation Minister Kiri Allan declared that a Jobs for Nature-funded collaboration between communities and scientists “is a crucial step in the fight to protect some of New Zealand’s best known native plants”.

“Myrtle rust poses a threat to some of our most abundant native myrtle species, including the iconic Kiwi Christmas tree, the pōhutukawa, as well as rātā, mānuka and ramarama.

“It is also a threat to our valuable mānuka and kānuka honey industry.”

Two projects, one each in Tairawhiti/East Coast and the Bay of Plenty, will focus on monitoring myrtle rust infestation, mapping its spread and ramping up the propagation of plants showing the most resistance to the disease.

A $5 million investment is being made.

The two projects announced today are the Te Whakapae Ururoa: Community Myrtle Rust Surveillance Project in Tairawhiti and the Myrtle Rust: Jobs for Resistance project in Rotorua. Together they will be employing 15 people fulltime for the next three years.

But the news media were hungry for Covid-19 news, too, after the spike in numbers of cases reported at the weekend.

Today we learned there are 29 new Covid cases in the community, including a patient at Auckland City Hospital who was admitted to intensive care and then tested positive.

One case was in the Waikao, the others in Auckland.

This was the final data Cabinet would consider before its meeting today to decide on alert levels.

The outcome of that meeting was Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s setting out “a roadmap” for Auckland to carefully move out of current Covid-19 restrictions.

Details can be found in the press statement referenced below, but she said:

“In total, this phasing amounts to a careful and methodical transition plan for Auckland. At the end of these steps, we will then move to a national framework that reflects a more highly vaccinated population, allowing us the ability to deal with riskier settings such as large-scale events with the use of vaccine certificates.

“Cabinet also agreed the rest of New Zealand will remain at Alert Level 2 to continue to support Auckland to do the heavy lifting – but the 100 limit cap on hospitality venues is removed. The requirement for customers to be seated and separated with physical distancing remains in place.”

Ahead of that announcement, Covid-19 response Minister Chris Hipkins was chuffed to report a significant milestone for the largest vaccination programme in New Zealand’s history.

“As of this morning, 2,018,305 people were fully vaccinated with two doses, representing 48 percent of people aged 12 and over,” Chris Hipkins said.

“And more broadly, 3,328,286 people have had at least one dose – that’s 79 percent of people aged 12 and over.”

Now let’s see if health authorities can mop up the rest.  It might start by persuading Bishop Brian Tamaki to abandon his anti-vax position and bare his arm for the jabs.

Meanwhile, Hipkins was further announcing that full vaccination will become a requirement for non-New Zealand citizens arriving into the country from 1 November.

“To further reduce the possibility of the virus getting through our border, we are introducing the requirement for air travellers aged 17 and over, who are not New Zealand citizens, to be fully vaccinated to enter New Zealand.

“This is an important step in our Reconnecting New Zealand strategy.”

Travellers will be required to declare their vaccination status when registering with the Managed Isolation Allocation System, as well as presenting proof of vaccination or a relevant exemption to their airline and to Customs officers once they land.

Oh, and Hipkins also had the job of announcing that – from 11:59pm last night – north west Waikato moved into Alert Level 3 for five days.

“This temporary measure gives us time to assess the situation and gather information from the contact tracing and community testing now underway, to help find the source of the cases announced on Sunday,” Chris Hipkins says.

“Limiting movement within north west Waikato for this temporary period will limit the Delta variant’s opportunity to spread while that important work goes on. 

It was absolutely essential the government moved swiftly to stop Delta in its tracks, Hipkins said.

“This temporary restriction is one of three key tools which will help prevent that.

“Getting vaccinated – and getting tested if you’re symptomatic – are the two other vital actions people in Waikato can take right now to help.”

Besides this heavy dose of vaccine news, we were treated to an announcement about language into which “vaccination” was deftly injected.

Pacific Peoples Minister Aupito William Sio marked the beginning of Macawa ni Vosa Vakaviti – Fijian Language Week and brought the vaccine into considerations while discussing how language is an important contributor to wellbeing.

COVID-19 has presented many challenges to the wellbeing of our community, a key component to our COVID recovery is getting vaccinated. During the Fijian Language Week a vaccination drive in Auckland will be held from Thursday 7 October to Saturday 9 October, at Mangere Centre Park. 

Nice one, minister.

Latest from the Beehive

Auckland roadmap – restrictions eased in steps

Kia ora koutou katoa

Auckland restrictions eased in steps

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has today set out a roadmap for Auckland to carefully move out of current Covid-19 restrictions.

Two million Kiwis fully vaccinated

More than 2 million people have now received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, marking a significant milestone for the largest vaccination programme in Aotearoa New Zealand’s history, Minister for COVID-19 Response Chris Hipkins says.

Let’s talk about the future of Pacific Languages in Aotearoa

Starting today, everyone in Aotearoa has a chance to have their say on the future of Pacific Languages in this country, said the Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio.

Funding helps put myrtle rust under the microscope

A Jobs for Nature-funded collaboration between communities and scientists is a crucial step in the fight to protect some of New Zealand’s best known native plants, Minister of Conservation Kiri Allan says.

Alert Level 3 boundary in north west Waikato now in effect

As of 11:59pm last night (Sunday 3 October), north west Waikato moved into Alert Level 3 for five days, a move COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says will help limit possible further community transmission of the virus.

New vaccination requirement for non-citizen travellers to New Zealand

Full vaccination will become a requirement for non-New Zealand citizens arriving into the country from 1 November, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says.

COVID-19 vaccine offers stability, essential for wellbeing, as we start Fijian Language Week

Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio has today marked the beginning of Macawa ni Vosa Vakaviti – Fijian Language Week, and welcomes this year’s theme of showing how language is an important contributor to wellbeing.

ACC Launches Family Violence Prevention Initiative

ACC is investing $44.9 million over four years to establish a fit-for-purpose sexual violence primary prevention system, Minister for ACC Carmel Sepuloni announced today.

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