Location, location, location can be a strong influence on our general wellbeing as well as the value of our real estate. The outlook for people still living in Mariupol, for example, is much more parlous than it is for people living – let’s say – in Motueka.
The era in which we live is important, too. We are better off today, despite the pandemic, than we would have been had we had to deal with the Bubonic Plague in Europe in the 14th century.
But what about our wellbeing a few decades from now? The warming of the climate suggests life could become more challenging than now, depending on what is done to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
How well off we are – or the quality of our wellbeing – perhaps is a matter of putting hardship in perspective too.
In this country, Hospitality NZ says the government’s decision yesterday to hold the traffic light setting at Red indefinitely is “gutting” for many businesses.
But if that is gutting, how should the people of Ukraine describe their plight as revelations about Russian atrocities cause widespread dismay around the world?
As for the era in which we live, according to a new report from climate-change scientists, we are headed for a global catastrophe unless firm action is taken now to cut emissions.
Beehive statements embraced all three issues yesterday.
First, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins announced now is not the time for the country to move to Orange on the traffic light system.
Second, Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced a further response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in the form of new sanctions which target oligarchs.
And third, Climate Change Minister James Shaw said the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warns of the need to cut our emissions. Both domestic action and international co-operation are urged if emissions are to be reduced to prevent a catastrophic increase in global temperature.
But in other ministerial offices, announcements were being made as if there are no threats from the pandemic, from the threat of a nuclear war, or from climate-warming.
The Government congratulated New Zealand tenor Simon O’Neill for his double nomination and big win of the Grammy for Best Choral Performance for his performance as Doctor Marianus in Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 for the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
It also advised us that almost $10 million has been spent on the development of 20 housing units, a $12.3 million housing project on Maori land in Motueka intended to ensure local whānau can continue to live in the area and support the marae.
“This is a great example of a by Māori, for Māori approach delivering the housing supply that whanau need, said Peeni Henare.
“This papakāinga development also shows that by growing the capability of Māori-led housing providers, we are enabling Māori-led housing solutions to thrive.”
Great. But what about non-Maori desperate to find somewhere to live so they can remain in the area?
The press statement, not surprisingly, did not address that question.
Nor did Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods tell us about the costs to taxpayers when she announced a government partnership with New Zealand aerospace start-up, Pyper Vision.
Pyper Vision is developing a technology that disperses a safe water-absorbing environmentally-friendly product via drone that soaks up moisture in the air and clears runway fog so that pilots and air traffic controllers can operate safely.
“It’s a simple idea that could solve a multi-billion dollar problem. A critical area of sky can be cleared in as little as 10 minutes,” Woods said.
The development of Pyper Vision’s technology will be assisted through the Government’s Airspace Integration Trials Programme, which supports the safe integration of advanced aviation technologies into our existing transport system.
Pity about the fog around the cost to taxpayers.
On the pandemic front, the news was mixed.
New Zealand is recording a drop in cases, Chris Hipkins said, but as Omicron takes hold in our regions, public health advice tells us now is not the time for the country to move to Orange. Four weeks ago we were averaging around 20,000 cases a day, compared to an average just over 13,000 yesterday.
“But while the drop in cases is mainly in Auckland and Wellington, other places aren’t yet in the same position.”
Nearly two weeks ago the government announced changes to the COVID-19 Protection Framework to make it simpler and allow us to live more normal lives, while keeping the public health measures in place that we know work, Hipkins said.
Yesterday it announced changes to vaccine passes and mandates.
From 11:59pm last night, Kiwis no longer need to use My Vaccine Pass. Government vaccine mandates were removed for all sectors except health and care workers, prison staff, and border workers.
But the Red setting means we must wear face masks in most indoor settings, limit indoor capacity to 200, and isolate for seven days if we catch COVID-19 – or someone we live with does.
On the same day, the Government approved sanctions on a further 36 individuals, all of whom are Russian oligarchs or their close family members with close ties to the Russian regime or the Russian President himself.
The list includes some of Russia’s richest businesspeople, as well as chairs and chief executives of some of Russia’s biggest companies.
They will not be able to travel to New Zealand, move assets here, or use our financial systems to hide from sanctions imposed by other countries, Mahuta said.
A full list of the individuals and entities impacted by the Russia Sanctions Act 2022 can be found on the MFAT website: www.mfat.govt.nz/Russia-Sanctions
James Shaw meanwhile was saying the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is clear: we need a plan now to cut our emissions.
The report notes that 83 per cent of net growth in greenhouse gases since 2010 has occurred in Asia and the Pacific – and that New Zealand, Australia and Japan, as a group, had some of the highest rates of GHG emissions per capita in 2019.
“As a country that relies on our environment for so much, addressing climate change isn’t a nice to have, it’s essential,” Shaw said.
Our Emissions Reduction Plan, which will be published next month, will set out how we will reduce emissions across every sector of the economy.
The IPCC report – which focuses on the prevention of further warming – says both domestic action and international co-operation are essential if we are to reduce emissions and prevent a catastrophic increase in global temperature.
Latest from the Beehive
Minister of Climate Change James Shaw says the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is clear: we need a plan now to cut our emissions.
As part of the Government’s ongoing response to Ukraine, new sanctions targeting oligarchs with close personal ties to Vladimir Putin or the Russian government will come into force at midnight tonight.
New Zealand is seeing a drop in cases, but as Omicron takes hold in our regions, public health advice tells us now is not the time for the country to move to Orange.
The Government congratulates New Zealand tenor Simon O’Neill for his double nomination and big win of the Grammy for Best Choral Performance for his performance as Doctor Marianus in Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 for the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
A dawn blessing marking the start of construction of a large, Government supported papakāinga development of 20 papakāinga housing units in Motueka took place this morning.
A government partnership with New Zealand aerospace start-up, Pyper Vision, could help make fog delays a thing of the past for passengers, freight, airlines and airports around the world.