Self criticism is a Good Thing. It’s usually kinder than the external version, and you get a chance to revise your argument.
So what to make of the mea culpa in the Financial Times from Jim O’Neill – the man self-credited with coining the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) acronym back in 2001. Does he succeed in his mea recta?
Back then he argued that:
“since these countries were likely to continue their striking gross domestic product growth over the next decade, we urgently needed them to play a bigger role in global governance.”
Whee! Vaccinated New Zealanders can look forward to Kiwi summer events with confidence….
Those were the opening words of a press statement from Carmel Sepuloni. speaking as Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage about the launch of details of the Arts and Culture Event Support Scheme.
But don’t count on the new ”traffic lights” system of Covid-19 control being a sure guide to where you can go and which events you can attend. The system is causing confusion in the north and in the south.
This casts a cloud over Sepuloni’s press statement boast that the the Arts and Culture Event Support Scheme is about providing certainty for event organisers, confidence for vaccinated New Zealanders to attend and enjoy events, and reassurance for artists and crew that they can get paid if their events can’t go ahead as planned.
But one thing is for sure: under the scheme, all of us will be chipping in to pay for these events, even if we don’t attend them.
Wolfgang Munchau is a favourite European political commentator. You have to love a guy who ran the argument that Germany and Britain should team up to run the European Union.
Naturally you’d like to know his views on the new German governing coalition, which has just published its 178-page policy agreement.
The most interesting thing about the coalition is that it brings together the enviro-statist Green party with the right-liberal Free Democrats, who, as Munchau says “can’t stand the sight of each other”.
He is professor of Biochemistry and Clinical Biochemistry at the School of Biological Sciences and the Department of Medicine at the University of Auckland, where he also leads the Proteomics and Biomedicine Research Group. He is a Principal Investigator in the Maurice Wilkins Centre of Research Excellence for Molecular Biodiscovery, a member of the Endocrine Society (USA). He was elected as a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences (London) in 2013
And – for now – he is a member of the Academy of the Royal Society of New Zealand.
But the society has subjected him and another prominent academic, Robert Nola, to disciplinary action which looks suspiciously like a witch hunt.
Nola is emeritus professor of the philosophy of science with his own impressive CV.
The society has called off its investigation into a third academic, Michael Corballis, who died earlier this month.
Matters in the foreign affairs domain have preoccupied ministers over the past two days.
Ambassadors to Russia and the United Nations have been appointed, $100 million has been given to the Cook Islands and Fiji for COVID-19 economic support and recovery, nine southern African countries have been added to New Zealand’s list of very high risk countries after discovery of the COVID-19 variant Omicron, and Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta has provided a rundown on the North American leg of her 17-day overseas travels.
Mahuta has been busy. Regardless of jet lag, she has announced the new ambassadorial appointments and the economic package of $100 million, bringing COVID-19 support to the Cook Islands and Fiji to a combined total of $215 million. New Zealand this time is providing $60 million to the Cook Islands and $40 million to Fiji.
We suppose the press statements were prepared while the Minister was in managed isolation and quarantine, no doubt itching to get back to the Three Waters reforms.
A weekend statement told us the final leg of Mahuta’s travels involved “a number of high-level discussions” in the United States and Canada.
As the National party wrangles over Judith Collins’ replacement, they might take a crumb of comfort from the fact that a few of their corresponding centre-right political parties are also living dangerously.
Boris Johnson’s leadership of the Conservatives is being savaged by colleagues as Britain’s living standards sag (and poll ratings with it). But at least he is in office, with a healthy parliamentary majority.
Violence in Honiara – three days of looting and destruction, demands for the PM to step down and the declaration of a nightly curfew – has prompted one of two new posts on the Beehive website since we last updated our monitoring.
Reporting on the unrest, RNZ Pacific correspondent in Honiara, Georgina Kekea, said only six buildings were still standing in Honiara’s Chinatown.
In Wellington, Acting Foreign Affairs Minister David Parker has expressed this country’s deep concern at events unfolding in the capital of the Solomon Islands.
Fisher and Paykel Healthcare startled the sharemarket out of its lethargy this week when it reported a half-year profit of $221.8m on revenue of over $900m. The company again dazzled market analysts, who had been expecting revenue to fall after the record achieved in the previous 12 months, largely through the provision of medical equipment for hospitals to combat Covid.
The Auckland-based company has become the flag-bearer for the hi-tech sector in NZ and has signalled further growth, announcing that over the next five years it expects to invest $700m in land and buildings. This includes a fifth building, completing its Auckland campus, and acquiring land for a second NZ campus.
Over the next five years the company expects to add an additional three manufacturing facilities located outside NZ, the first of which is currently under construction in Tijuana, Mexico.
What sets F&P Healthcare apart from most NZ firms is its investment in R&D which in this half year was 8% of revenue, or $75.7m.
The half-year announcement sent investors piling back into the stock, which bounced up 5%.
The government has taken further steps to split the country into various camps – first, we will have vaccinated and unvaccinated Kiwis, and second, we are further developing Us and Them racial camps. One split is being explained by the government’s need to protect the nation against the spread of Covid-19, the other is being justified by a debatable interpretation of the Treaty of Waitangi.
When something must be done to meet the requirements of the Treaty (according to interpretations adopted by the Ardern government to promote its political agenda), most critics are likely to be silenced. To challenge the dispensation of favours to Maori or whatever has been justified by the Treaty is to risk being accused of racism.
The latest decision to split the country into vaccinated and unvaccinated camps – and to bestow rights and benefits, such as a job, on the vaccinated – affects Police and Defence personnel.
Fresh from the legislative outrage of rushing the “traffic lights” bill through Parliament, the government poured $504.1 million earlier today into initiatives to help Kiwis deal with Covid-19 in its latest responses to the reality that Covid-19 is something we must learn to live with.
That was the sum when Point of Order first checked the Beehive website this morning.
By the time we were wrapping up this post an announcement from Associate Health Minister Ayesha Verrall had increased this by almost $1 billion on measures for testing, contact tracing and case investigation
Quicker testing will be among the consequences.
“Delta is here, so we are ensuring we have the tools in place to support the transition to the new framework, and to help minimise the spread of COVID-19,” Ayesha Verrall said.
Yep. The government has waved the flag of surrender in its efforts to beat the virus and has changed the rules for trying to constrain its spread.