As the Omicron wave washes through, it’s hard, even with the seasonal perspective, to reckon what things might be like in say a year’s time.
But perhaps necessary.
Because the day-to-day measures seem less and less meaningful – except where they provide a pointer to the direction of long-term policy.
Continue reading “Covid divide in 2022: you ain’t seen nothing yet”
The Point of Order team, constantly keeping an eye on Beehive decisions that affect the way we are governed, has been looking for evidence that the Minister of Conservation is in charge of the Department of Conservation and that her department can over-ride travel bans imposed by anyone who cares to put up a “Keep Out” sign.
The evidence sadly suggests the Minister, Kiritapu Allan, is not in charge.
At least, not when Maori tribal leaders opt to flex their muscle.
This raises significant questions about accountability and ministerial responsibility under the Ardern government.
It also raises questions about so-called Treaty partnerships and co-governance.
Our appetite for checking out Allan’s grip on DoC was whetted by news that tribal leaders in the Bay of Plenty area have slapped a “Keep Out” sign on the Whirinaki Conservation Park.
They don’t call it a “Keep Out” sign, of course. They call it a rahui. Continue reading “The Treaty partnership at work? DoC’s Minister is defied after declaring opposition to a rāhui in Whirinaki Conservation Park”
Another sharp take on the resignation of Lord Frost – Boris Johnson’s chief European sherpa – from the folk at Eurointelligence.
Wonk-in-chief Wolfgang Munchau argues Lord Frost was one of the few (perhaps the only one?) of Boris’s close advisers that really understood the needs of a post-Brexit strategy:
“What Brexit requires, first and foremost, is a post-Brexit economic model.”
Continue reading “Late Frost in Brexit Britain”
The politicians seem to have steered clear of the controversy over matauranga Maori and science in which the Royal Society of New Zealand has become embroiled.
This is perturbing. The meaning of “science” in this country – and how it is taught – will be influenced by the way the controversy is resolved. So, too, will the difference between truth and belief.
Soon the government will be evaluating feedback after launching the Te Ara Paerangi – Future Pathways Green Paper to prompt a consultation on the future of the country’s research, science and innovation science system.
Associate science minister Ayesha Verrall ominously said at the launch:
“Te Tiriti needs to be embedded right across the design and delivery of the system, and more opportunities need to exist for mātauranga Māori.”
Does she mean opportunities for a belief system? An alternative view of the world? Or what?
She has also declared:
We need to match the benefits from our research and science, with a modern, future-focused research system that is connected, adaptable and resilient, that embeds Te Tiriti across the design and delivery attributes of the system and supports opportunities for mātauranga Māori.
Opposition politicians (perhaps intent on avoiding vilification from commentators who seem to support the merging of science with mataranga Maori) have not challenged the direction in which science policy is being taken.
But we note mention of these matters and the controversy they have generated in a newsletter from the ACT Party which says: Continue reading “Royal Society’s handling of complaints against two fellows could shape the future of NZ science – and of Kiwi reality”
Young people aspiring to study Indigenous demography and data sovereignty, temporary migration, Pacific health equity and stuff like that might be tempted to check out what happens at an academic establishment called the University of Waikato’s National Institute of Demographic and Economic Analysis.
They might be steered to the institute’s website by googling “population studies NZ “. We quickly found it here.
But the clever people who run the institute have decided the institute’s name is too obvious. Or too functional. Or too prosaic.. Or too wordy. Or perhaps too colonialist.
They have gone into the rebranding caper and opted to call the institute Te Ngira.
A quick check with a Maori dictionary leaves us wondering about the reasoning.
- (loan) (noun) needle.
“Needle” (if we were to put that on the signage in English) might be good name for a Covid vaccination centre, perhaps.
But for a national institute of demographic and economic analysis?
But if we do it in te reo – then it’s Te Ngira.
Great. Continue reading “They had an idea at NIDEA – let’s rebrand (they agreed) and give our institute a right royal new name”
So what can New Zealanders look forward to in 2022?
After what PM Jacinda Ardern has labelled an “incredibly hard year” , surely the path ahead is smoother.
Don’t bet on it, even though the PM reckons our economic recovery is outstripping that of Australia, Canada, the European Union, Japan, and the OECD.
She told Parliament on its last sitting day that export forecasts were at a record high, as were milk pay-outs to farmers, and the terms of trade were positive.
Further, she said:
“A statistic that represents people’s livelihoods and their overall financial wellbeing is that we have seen unemployment down to record lows of 3.4%. And for every person that has stayed in work or has moved into work, that represents thousands and thousands of employers, business owners, business start-ups all working hard to support one another and their staff. It has truly been a team effort.
“But those numbers are also recognition of the hard work, foresight, and passion of this country’s finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, and I pay tribute to you, Grant. On a day when we release numbers that show projected net debt is lower and our return to surplus sooner, we say thank you”. Continue reading “Ardern has served lashings of Christmas cheer – but others dish up a more sobering outlook”
Just as we were encouraged yesterday by Nanaia Mahuta’s railing against the undermining of the democratic electoral system in Hong Kong, today we are encouraged by her acceptance of a referendum outcome in New Caledonia.
Mind you, there is nothing like the Treaty of Waitangi in Hong Kong or New Caledonia to temper her zeal for good democratic processes.
In today’s waving of the flag for democracy, Foreign Affairs Minister Mahuta has welcomed the fact the referendum process to determine the future status of New Caledonia had been calm and secure.
“We support the right of all peoples to self-determination, as expressed under international law,” Nanaia Mahuta said.
And when a majority of voters have determined what should happen?
Mahuta says the people then should live with the result
“Aotearoa New Zealand now encourages all parties to participate peacefully and constructively in the post-referendum transition process in the spirit of the Nouméa Accord.” Continue reading “Hard on the heels of support for democracy in Hong Kong, Mahuta welcomes acceptance of New Caledonia governance vote”
Experience suggests one should only call a turning point after it has actually – well – turned.
That said, it might be wise to keep an eye on developments in the UK over the Christmas and New Year period.
While Europe is fast locking down for fear of Omicron, Britain’s cabinet is the fulcrum of a political battle over whether any policy response would be meaningful.
Continue reading “In Britain, Christmas locks itself down”
Monitoring the Ministers
Two sets of key public-sector appointments have been announced by the ministers who serve us, since we last reported on our monitoring of the Beehive website.
Old white blokes – by the way – did not get a look-in, when it came to landing these jobs.
Children’s Minister Kelvin Davis announced three additional members have been appointed to the Oranga Tamariki Ministerial Advisory Board to provide representation for the youth, disability and Pasifika communities.
The board, set up in January, provides independent advice and assurance to the Minister for Children as work begins to “reset” the organisation.
Dr Ruth Jones, Mana Williams-Eade and Alfred Filipaina – the new appointees – join board chair Matthew Tukaki, Dame Naida Glavish, Sir Mark Solomon and Shannon Pakura
“… and will work alongside Oranga Tamariki to change our child care and protection system.”
A new action plan to implement the board’s initial recommendations has been put in place and work is well under way in talking to communities about how they see the future of child protection, Davis said.
“I firmly believe the answer lies in Oranga Tamariki taking a back seat and working in true partnership with communities who know best for their young people.”
Readers on the right of the political spectrum should be chuffed. Davis is saying the best place for the state is to get out of our lives.
Health Minister Andrew Little and Associate Health Minister Peeni Henare announced the two chief executives to lead New Zealand’s two new (racially segregated) health agencies. Continue reading “Let’s welcome Mahuta’s zeal for restoring Hong Kong’s democracy – and then let’s hope her thinking extends to NZ governance”
We said a few days ago that British PM, Boris Johnson, still looked to be the indispensable man.
It’s hard to tell if subsequent events are qualifying or confirming that.
First, Lord Frost, Minister of State and the government’s EU strategist resigned citing the general drift of policy, most recently towards Covid authoritarianism.
Continue reading “Boris: holding out till Christmas”