More Russians on the sanctions list – that will punish Putin’s cronies, but what might he do next to express his displeasure?

Buzz from the Beehive

Wow.  The long weekend seems to have been a powerful pick-me-up for our politicians, who have pumped out a raft of statements over the past two days.

Most of their press releases were to alert us to decisions to improve our wellbeing, although we wonder if that’s the case when we retaliate against President Putin for his antics in Ukraine.  He is threatening to up the ante by unleashing some of his nuclear weapons, after all.

Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta nevertheless has announced the imposition of further sanctions on members of Putin’s inner circle and other representatives of the Russian political elite, as part of the Government’s ongoing response to the war in Ukraine.

Since the passing of the Russia Sanctions Act in March, New Zealand has imposed sanctions on over 1000 individuals and entities,

“… a key part of our efforts to hold Russia accountable and support Ukraine,” Nanaia Mahuta said.

The Russia Sanctions Act allows for the Government to apply travel bans, asset freezes, prohibitions on financial dealings and bans on ships or aircraft entering New Zealand.

The latest sanctions target 19 additional members of Putin’s inner circle, including Federal Ministers, non-permanent members of Russia’s Security Council, relatives of Putin, and Ramzan Kadyrov, the President of the Chechen Republic, part of the Russian Federation.

Mahuta declared:

“Russia’s illegal and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine has already caused thousands of deaths, a massive humanitarian crisis and untold suffering. Any steps by Russia that risk a further escalation of the war in Ukraine are reckless and irresponsible.

“Russia’s so-called ‘referenda’ in Russian-controlled areas of Ukraine constitute a new and additional act of aggression and a breach of fundamental rules of international law. Aotearoa New Zealand strongly condemns Russia’s actions.”

More information about sanctions, travel bans, and export controls against Russia; as well as humanitarian, military, and legal support to Ukraine can be found on the MFAT site here.

Mahuta’s latest blow against Putin is recorded on the Beehive website along with news that the Government and its ministers are …

  • Paving the way for the next head count – 

Statistics New Zealand has announced the next census will be held on 7 March next year

Can we expect a better job than last time?

Yes, we are assured by Statistics Minister David Clark and associate minister Meka Whaitiri.  They  banged out a press release (with a political barb) to say  major work to ensure the delivery of a successful census in 2023 is under way

“…after a low turnout in 2018 was caused by the previous Government’s decision to move the 5 yearly survey to a mostly online approach”. 

  • Shining the light on screen workers

The Screen Industry Workers Bill has passed its third reading, changing working conditions for workers in the screen industry.

The new law will allow contractors in the screen industry to bargain collectively increase protections for workers in cases of bullying and harassment and set clear standards for contracts in the industry.

  • Investing in the wellbeing of young people 

Associate Minister of Education (School Operations) Jan Tinetti and Associate Minister of Education (Māori Education) Kelvin Davis have launched two new resources to support wellbeing, and the teaching and learning of mental health education in schools.

Mental Health Education: A guide for teachers, leaders and schools boards is intended to enable schools to deliver effective, high-quality mental health education programmes to students.

Te Oranga Mauri – Te Hā o Hinepūtehue: He Puna Oranga Mauri mā ngā Mokopuna is a reo Māori resource that affirms existing successful practice in kura,

“   offering a new way of aligning with regenerating ancestral practice by increasing awareness of your own mauri, the mauri of others and its impacts.”

Te Oranga Mauri is grounded in mātauranga Māori and kōrero tuku iho and meant for tumuaki, tumuwhakahaere and kaiako to support teaching and learning throughout the marau levels. The resource has been created by several key mātanga, subject matter experts specifically from Te Ao Hauora, Te Ao Māori and supported by Ngā Āhuatanga Ako,” Kelvin Davis says.

Davis provided no translation for English-speaking taxpayers who might be interested in the use to which the government is putting their money.  Nor are the costs of the two programmes disclosed.

The new mental health education guide is available here: hpe.tki.org.nz/guidelines-and-policies/mental-health-education

  • Welcoming progress on Auckland’s transport infrastructure

Transport Minister Michael Wood has welcomed the latest progress on Auckland Light Rail and the Additional Waitematā Harbour Connections.

Auckland Light Rail and Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency have named preferred bidders to move each project to their next phase, designing the best way to construct Auckland Light Rail and evaluating the preferred transport modes for further development for Waitematā Harbour Connections.

  • Providing $6m to reduce numbers of homeless Kiwis 

Ten new recipients of the Local Innovation and Partnership Fund have received almost $6 million allocated as part of the Homelessness Action Plan.

These 10 initiatives will have a strong focus on Māori, Pasefika and rangatahi as part of this Government’s commitment to supporting communities that are more likely to experience discrimination and isolation, says Associate Minister of Housing (Homelessness), Marama Davidson.

She also invited more troughers to the next serving, announcing that round three of the Fund will open “in the coming months”.  She encouraged potential applicants to start considering projects for submission.

The $16.6 million Local Innovation and Partnership Fund, set up in 2020, is one of 18 actions set out in the  New Zealand Homelessness Action Plan to support local initiatives that respond and prevent homelessness.

  • Bragging about a budget boost for medicine providers

Health Minister Andrew Little is welcoming news that two more important medicines are set to be funded, thanks to the Government’s boost to the country’s medicines budget.

Since coming into Government in 2017, the Labour Government has increased Pharmac’s funding by 43 per cent, including a $71 million boost this year and another $120 million increase next year, he said.

The Government medicines funding agency Pharmac, today announced that, subject to public consultation, it will fully fund a medicine for spinal muscular atrophy, as well as adrenaline auto-injectors for people at risk of anaphylaxis, or life-threatening allergic reactions.

  • Extending ACC coverage to maternity mishaps  

“Birthing parents” who are injured during childbirth will be covered by ACC under the Maternal Birth Injury and Other Matters Bill which has passed its Third Reading.  From 1 October, new ACC cover will benefit approximately 28,000 “birthing parents”.

There was a time when we might have talked about 28,000 “mothers”, but perhaps not on Jacinda’s watch as PM.

More than 70 per cent of “people” giving birth in New Zealand may experience an injury during labour or birth, the statement says.

The law covers all injuries that result from birthing,  from onset of labour through to the baby being delivered.

  • Letting more fish off the hook

Commercial catch limits for East Coast terakihi will be reduced a further 15 per cent from current levels to help stock rebuild to the management target  faster within a 15-year timeframe.

The decision is one of several changes to ensure sustainability announced after a regular review of catch limits and management settings across a number of New Zealand’s fisheries.

Officials have been instructed to closely monitor the hoki fishery, and to consider reviewing the stock again next year following its annual assessment.”

  • Appointing an ambassador and a judge

Diplomat Nicci Stilwell has been appointed the next Ambassador to Colombia .

Judge Ida Malosi, District Court Judge of Wellington, has been appointed as the new Principal Youth Court Judge.

  • Relaxing immigration rules to help horticulturists and winegrowers

The Government has  announced the largest increase in over a decade to the Recognised Seasonal Employer Scheme (RSE), providing 3000 additional places.

The new RSE cap will allow access to 19,000 workers annually from participating Pacific countries, providing workforce relief to the horticulture and wine sector.

The additional 3000 places, is a 19 per cent increase on the previous season.

  • Enthusing at the latest tourist data  

Tourism Minister Stuart Nash was chuffed that for the first time since March 2020, the number of overseas visitor arrivals exceeded 100,000 – with 134,200 visitors in July – according to data from Stats NZ.  He welcomed this news (on World Tourism Day) as a strong sign that the tourism sector is bouncing back.

Latest from the Beehive

28 SEPTEMBER 2022

Extra measures to increase census turnout in 2023

Major work to ensure the delivery of a successful census in 2023 is underway, after a low turnout in 2018 was caused by the previous Government’s decision to move the 5 yearly survey to a mostly online approach.

Shining the light on screen workers

Improved working conditions for workers in the screen industry is now a reality with the Screen Industry Workers Bill passing its third reading today.

Mental health resources for young people and schools launched

Associate Minister of Education (School Operations) Jan Tinetti and Associate Minister of Education (Māori Education) Kelvin Davis have today launched two new resources to support wellbeing, and the teaching and learning of mental health education in schools and kura.

Progress continues on future-proofing Auckland’s transport infrastructure

Transport Minister Michael Wood has welcomed the latest progress on Auckland’s two most transformational transport projects in a generation – Auckland Light Rail and the Additional Waitematā Harbour Connections.

Government supports local innovation in homelessness prevention

Government is stepping up its support of community leadership in homelessness prevention with 10 new recipients of the Local Innovation and Partnership Fund (LIPF) receiving close to $6 million allocated as part of the Homelessness Action Plan (HAP).

More medicines for New Zealanders, thanks to Govt’s Budget boost

Health Minister Andrew Little is welcoming news that two more important medicines are set to be funded, thanks to the Government’s big boost to the country’s medicines budget.

27 SEPTEMBER 2022

Government delivers ACC change to support 28,000 parents

Nearly 50 years since ACC legislation was first passed in the House and just less than a year after we announced our intention to introduce legislation, birthing parents who are injured during childbirth will be covered by ACC.

Further cuts for East Coast tarakihi limits to rebuild numbers faster

Commercial catch limits for East Coast tarakihi will be reduced further to help the stock rebuild faster.

New Ambassador to Colombia announced

Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta today announced the appointment of diplomat Nicci Stilwell as the next Ambassador to Colombia.

3000 more RSE workers to ease workforce pressures

The Government continues to respond to global workforce shortages by announcing the largest increase in over a decade to the Recognised Seasonal Employer Scheme (RSE), providing 3000 additional places, Immigration Minister Michael Wood and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor have announced.

Sanctions on more of the Russian political elite

Further sanctions are being imposed on members of President Putin’s inner circle and other representatives of the Russian political elite, as part of the Governments ongoing response to the war in Ukraine.

New Principal Youth Court Judge appointed

Judge Ida Malosi, District Court Judge of Wellington, has been appointed as the new Principal Youth Court Judge, Attorney-General David Parker announced today.

Visitor arrivals highest since pandemic began

New Zealand’s tourism recovery is on its way with international visitor arrivals reaching the highest level since the borders were closed in March 2020.

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