In what it sees as a pivotal year for the electricity sector and New Zealand’s climate agenda, Genesis Energy says there is significant investment in renewables being made, the Emissions Reduction Plan is due from government and Budget 2022 will allocate capital to the climate response.
Genesis believes it has a key role to play with agreements for wind and geothermal generation, expanding its portfolio into grid-scale solar, and continuing work to ensure back-up generation at Huntly supports the transition.
Reporting its half-year result (a 63% rise in net profit of $84.7m), Genesis said the result underlines the company’s momentum as it invests for future growth in new renewable generation and enhanced customer experiences.
Whose turn is it for funding in the name of Covid-19 relief and the government’s sense of need to help people adversely affected financially by it?
Oh yes. Sport and recreation – but only in some parts of the country.
The Government is providing $4 million of support for sport and recreation organisations in the Auckland, Northland and Waikato regions financially affected by the extended COVID alert level restrictions between August and December last year.
An hour or so after this was announced, Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced New Zealand was providing humanitarian aid to support the people of Ukraine.
This aid will help deliver essential humanitarian assistance, with a focus on supporting health facilities and meeting basic needs (such as provision of food and hygiene items) in a country being mercilessly bombarded and battered by troops unleashed by the despotic Vladimir Putin.
It amounts to $2 million, which is half the amount of financial assistance allocated to support local and regional sport and recreation organisations and providers.
The government’s help for Putin’s victims might also be compared with the $12 million from the Jobs for Nature fund for “a suite of projects” in the Hokianga Catchment area announced last week by Environment Minister David Parker.
Charity palpably beings at home, but fair to say, Mahuta said this is “an initial $2 million”.
Furthermore, New Zealand provides annual funding to the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund, which has announced it has allocated $20 million to help humanitarian agencies scale up their Ukraine response.
On the other hand, it should be noted that – yet again – Mahuta has denounced the Russian invasion of Afghanistan without mentioning President Putin.
In other Covid-19 news from the Beehive, Pacific Peoples Minister Aupito William Sio has delivered something headed “Intervention Speech delivered online for UN High-level Thematic Debate on Universal COVID-19 Vaccination”.
Intervention suggests he had to interrupt someone else’s speech, although speech-language pathologists use early speech intervention to tackle problems among children with speech impediments.
Sio told his audience that here in New Zealand,
“… we believe in — and are bound by — the value and responsibilities of whanaungatanga: this value speaks to our deep connections and sense of belonging as human beings and our geneaological ties. We share as whanau, or family, through history, experiences (good, bad & sad), cultures and working together.
“Whanaungatanga underpins our place in the Blue Pacific Continent, as neighbours, and as part of the Pacific family. It also underpins Aotearoa New Zealand’s place as part of a global family. And when our family suffers, we have a duty — a responsibility — to respond. Our elders often say – in times of crisis – we put aside our differences and support one another – for we are one body, we are flesh and blood.”
The team at Point of Order must confess we did not realise we believed in and were bound by something called Whanaungatanga.
We thus have been enlightened on this matter and appreciate that when our global family suffers, we have a duty — a responsibility — to respond.
But Sio wasn’t about to tell us about our response to the suffering being inflicted on Putin’s orders in Ukraine. News of that (as we noted earlier) came from Nanaia Mahuta, who said New Zealand stands by the people of Ukraine impacted by Russia’s unprovoked invasion.
“It is deeply disturbing to hear reports of the growing numbers of deaths and injuries from this conflict. The harrowing and horrific images of displaced, or suffering civilians, in Ukraine speak volumes of this unfolding tragedy, and underlines the consequences of Russia’s unprovoked aggression.”
New Zealand was providing an initial $2 million but:
“These are early days and we will continue to monitor events closely as the scale of the conflict, and the resulting humanitarian crisis, becomes clearer. We know the consequences of Russia’s actions will be significant, and tragically many of these will fall on innocent civilians.”
Sio, however, was speaking of New Zealand doing all it can to meet the World Health Organisation’s 70 per cent vaccination target by June, this year.
“And, we will continue to work alongside the World Health Organisation and COVAX to ensure all communities can access the vaccines they need. We encourage all donors and vaccine companies to do the same.”
The only other fresh announcement posted on the Beehive website today (at time of writing) came from Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor.
They announced the horticulture and winegrowing sector will have access to 1,600 more workers this season after the Government agreed to increase the Recognised Seasonal Employment Scheme (RSE) cap to 16,000.
“We’ve increased the cap for the 2021/2022 season from 14,400 to 16,000 so employers in the horticulture and winegrowing sector can access more labour to help with planting, maintenance, harvesting, packing and winter pruning. It will also help set the sector up for the next season,” Damien O’Connor said.
Returning to the news which opened this post, Sport and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson announced the $4 million of support for sport and recreation organisations in the Auckland, Northland and Waikato regions financially affected by the extended COVID alert level restrictions between August and December last year.
The new fund, which has been allocated from the $265 million Sport Recovery Package comprises $4 million:
$2.2 million for Aktive Auckland Sport and Recreation
$485,000 for Sport Waikato
$315,000 for Sport Northland.
A contingency of $1 million will also be available across all three regions if required.
The “investment” follows $5.3 million in funding announced last October to support sport and recreation organisations, outdoor education providers and whānau in Auckland and elsewhere financially affected by last year’s lockdown.
The Government is providing more support for sport and recreation organisations in the Auckland, Northland and Waikato regions financially affected by the extended COVID alert level restrictions between August and December last year.
Win some (hopefully); lose some (but not too much).
We refer to New Zealand’s international trade and trade relationships.
While Trade Minister Damien O’Connor is packing his bags to build trade opportunities in Europe and the Middle East, the PM and the Minister of Foreign Affairs have been announcing “targeted” travel bans against Russian Government officials and other individuals associated with the invasion of Ukraine and prohibiting the export of goods to Russian military and security forces.
For good measure, Energy and Resources Minister Dr Megan Woods has assured us that New Zealand won’t be affected by Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine and any resulting curtailment of Russian oil supply.
One good reason (as Woods explained) is that:
“New Zealand does not purchase any oil or oil products from Russia so would not be directly affected if Russian oil supply is curtailed.”
Similarly, regarding the export ban, Ardern acknowledged
“exports from New Zealand under this category are limited … “
When Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta told us the Ambassador of the Russian Federation was being called in to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, it was to tell him about New Zealand’s “strong opposition” to actions taken by Russia in recent days and condemn “what looks to be the beginning of a Russian invasion into Ukraine territory”.
The escalation of Russian warmongering since then is reflected in two statements posted on The Beehive website.
The first (posted in the name of the Minister of Foreign Affairs) is headed Aotearoa New Zealand condemns the advance of Russian military into Ukraine.
The second (posted in the names of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern) is headed Aotearoa New Zealand condemns Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Not one of the three statements mentions Vladimir Putin, the Russian President who has gone rogue.
The key points in the second statement posted yesterday are curiously repetitive.
As Russian forces raise their horizons and start killing more Ukrainians in what seems to be a full-on invasion, Britain’s PM, Boris Johnson, got the stakes right when he said “this mission must end in failure”.
That covers a multiplicity of outcomes of varying bloodiness – but the logic is that conflict continues until the goal is reached. It may take quite a while then.
The phrase game changing is overused, but – in the sense of recognition of a profound change in direction – it might well be applicable in this case.
A Stuff headline suggests Russian Ambassador Georgii Viktorovich Zuev was treated like a naughty schoolchild, when Foreign Affairs officials told him what this country thinks about Russia’s provocative incursion into another country this week. It said NZ scolds Russian ambassador over Ukraine encroachment.
The report proceeded to say Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta had instructed government officials to give the Ambassador “a dressing down” over the military incursion into Ukraine.
“Calling in the ambassador is highly symbolic in foreign policy and is one of the strongest diplomatic signals available to the Government, short of other more forceful measures that may now be on the table,” Greener said.
Dairy giant Fonterra has lifted its 2021/22 forecast farmgate milk price range to $9.30 – $9.90kg/MS, up from its previous forecast of $8.90 – $9.50.
This increases the midpoint of the range, at which farmers are paid, by 40c to $9.60 – easily the highest on record.
At that level, Fonterra estimates that the milk price payout will contribute $14bn this season to the NZ economy.
Truly exciting times for the dairy industry and rural regions. They have become even more important, as a key prop to the economy through the Covid pandemic, because of the loss of earnings from the international tourism and hospitality industries.
Meridian Energy issued a terse statement earlier this month on the future of the Tiwai Point aluminium smelter.
This followed speculation that with the price of aluminium soaring to US$3000 a tonne (it used to vary between US$1400 and US$1800) the smelter’s majority owner, international giant Rio Tinto, would want to extend its contract for cheap electricity (some say the cheapest in the world) beyond its current contract date of 2024.
The price of aluminium on world markets is now just on $US3300.
Zero road deaths. Haven’t we heard about this policy ambition before?
We refer to the blaring from the Beehive today of a road safety initiative under the heading Govt launches road safety campaign with target of zero road deaths
The press release starts:
Transport Minister Michael Wood and Police Minister Poto Williams have today launched the Road to Zero public awareness campaign, which sets a target of zero road deaths and serious injuries by 2050, and a 40 per cent reduction by 2030.
Economic Development Minister Stuart Nash reckons it’s a game-changer: the government is putting taxpayers’ money into a company extracting the valuable mineral lithium from geothermal brine at Ohaaki near Taupo.
The government’s aim is to help scale up the project to produce lithium which is in strong international demand for electric vehicle (EV) batteries.. EVs are expected to account for more than half of new car sales in the northern hemisphere by 2030.
Overseas, traditional ways of mining lithium leave a heavy carbon footprint, Nash said.
“In contrast, the Geo40 programme involves new technology to recover lithium sustainably from geothermal brine, and return the water to the geothermal field. The brine is a watery residue containing mineral compounds, and is a by-product of geothermal electricity generation.
“If we can successfully build up Geo40’s green technology to commercial scale, New Zealand could become an international leader in technology for the sustainable supply of lithium, and help to build lasting action on climate change. It could also help meet New Zealand’s 2050 carbon neutral target and create jobs to support the economic recovery.