Maori caucus – by the looks of things – has had a say in who should benefit from $15m of cyclone relief funding

Buzz from the beehive

Point of Order hasn’t kept count of the millions of dollars the Government has been pouring into cyclone-devastated communities in the aftermath of Cyclone Gabrielle.

But we don’t recall the several announcements suggesting there might be a discriminatory element to the way the beneficiaries would be determined. If there was a need for help, then that’s where the money would go, although – fair enough – funding for farmers would probably go to farmers, and funding for horticulturalists would go to horticulturalists. And so on.

The assistance announced today, on the other hand, reminds us that the Maori Caucus still carries a lot of clout within the Government despite the change of leadership and signs given by the new prime minister that he would be easing back on politically ticklish issues such as co-governance.

And the Maori caucus unabashedly sees things through an ethnocentric lens, especially when public funding is up for grabs.

Minister for Māori Development Willie Jackson and Minister for Whānau Ora Hon Peeni Henare announced a new funding package while meeting with whānau at Waipatu Marae in Hastings today.   Continue reading “Maori caucus – by the looks of things – has had a say in who should benefit from $15m of cyclone relief funding”

Bryce Edwards’ Political Roundup: The need to depoliticise the public service

  • Dr Bryce Edwards writes – 

Is the Chair of Te Whatu Ora Health New Zealand, Rob Campbell, trying to rid himself of a job he no longer wants? The idea that he’s trying to get himself fired is the most obvious conclusion to draw from his overt attempts over the weekend to stoke up opposition to the National Party’s Three Waters reform proposals.

The health boss has published his strident views on the National Party and its leader, implying they are being racist. His partisan statement is a clear breach of the code of conduct for senior public servants like himself.

Such politicised public statements are not normally acceptable from what is meant to be an impartial and professional public service. The bureaucracy serves the public and democracy best when it is not operating along partisan lines nor helping the election chances of one political party or another. Continue reading “Bryce Edwards’ Political Roundup: The need to depoliticise the public service”

Graham Adams: Hipkins’ stealth revolution in education

  • Graham Adams writes – 

The PM’s tenure as Minister of Education has given NZ school students a racialised and unbalanced curriculum.

Even if Chris Hipkins is no longer the Prime Minister after October’s election, his legacy will be locked in for some time.

Chances are it won’t be on account of his role as Prime Minister over the next seven months — or his time as Minister of Police, Minister for Covid-19 Response, Minister for the Public Service, or his brief period as Minister of Health.

It will mainly be the result of his five years as Minister of Education.

Hipkins may, in fact, not even have been the principal architect of the stealthy revolution that has occurred on his watch but it will be seen as his legacy nevertheless because formal power over the education portfolio rested with him from 2017 until he became Prime Minister in January.

Over those years, Hipkins and his ministry have given the nation’s schoolchildren a radical (“decolonised”) history curriculum, which teachers throughout the country have begun implementing this term. “Aotearoa New Zealand’s Histories” is now compulsory for schools from Years 1-10, with the subject optional in Years 11-13.

Govt gives census officials more time to collect data in cyclone-hit areas and goes global with appeal for recovery funds

Latest from the Beehive

The cleanup after Cyclone Gabrielle continues to dominate the outflow of announcements from the Beehive.

Today’s news notably includes something that had been anticipated – the Census collection period will be extended in areas impacted by the Cyclone.

Ministers have announced – Continue reading “Govt gives census officials more time to collect data in cyclone-hit areas and goes global with appeal for recovery funds”

Two  views of how the war in the Ukraine is impacting on  a small  country in the Pacific  

Last  year,  when she  was  still Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern described the state of world affairs as “bloody messy”. Since then there have been few, if any, signs of improvement.  The   war in Ukraine delivered an economic  jolt to NZ, and  its effects  have  barely  dissipated. The war’s expansion would bring more pain for local business and consumers.

Without the military or economic scale to influence events directly, NZ relies on its voice and ability to persuade.

But by placing its faith in a rules-based order and United Nations processes, it also has to work with – and sometimes around – highly imperfect systems. In some areas of international law and policy, the machinery is failing. It’s unclear what the next best step might be. Continue reading “Two  views of how the war in the Ukraine is impacting on  a small  country in the Pacific  “

Eric Crampton:  A case for Film Commission funding 

  • Eric Crampton writes –

Film subsidies aimed at boosting economic activity are a mistake. That stuff just doesn’t work.

But if you’re trying to subsidise more stories and content about a small country at the far end of the world, well, they can be effective for that.

And I have a proposal for one.

A decade ago, Henderson’s fight with IRD, which eventually saw him win and buy the building that IRD leased, was turned into a movie. With some help from the Film Commission. If you haven’t seen it, it’s great fun.

David Fisher writes about another case that would make a wonderful film:

A digger driver owed $6 million by his local council after an epic 18-year fight for justice has asked the High Court to sell the local authority’s offices after it missed a critical deadline for paying the court-ordered sum.

Read the whole thing. It’s great! Or, rather, horrible.

Daisley explained: “The deal was, I take the charging order off if they pay the money. They paid a portion of what’s owed. They reneged on the payment, so the charging order stayed.”

Daisley – who has previously described the council as “absolute low-life mongrel bastards” – said his lawyers had now asked the High Court to act on the charging order and to sell the council headquarters.  

Where did it all start? Council [the Whangārei District Council] lied to Daisley repeatedly about the consent on his site for quarrying. He wound up having to sell the site.

Daisley and the council’s dispute goes back to 2004, when he bought a property in rural Northland on which there was a working quarry that had been mined for decades.

Early the next year, Daisley was hit with an order from the council to stop quarrying without a resource consent – an order that was followed by other abatement notices, rejection of his application for a resource consent and then, in 2009, enforcement proceedings in the Environment Court.

His inability to work the quarry and deal with enforcement action led to financial difficulties, forcing him to sell the land.

Then, in 2009, a lawyer hired to defend the enforcement action visited the council offices and carried out an archive search of the property record, revealing a consent from the 1980s that was still valid and did not limit what could be taken from the quarry.

Justice Kit Toogood KC, who heard the case, found that every time Daisley asked the council about “the existence of a resource consent, the council denied that a resource consent existed and insisted that Mr Daisley’s quarrying was unlawful”.

Daisley told the Herald the discovery didn’t end his problems – in May 2011, the new owner was granted permission to mine the quarry, even though the council persisted with its enforcement action against him until July 2011.

Toogood found in Daisley’s favour and ruled that the council was “guilty of misfeasance in public office through recklessly misinforming Mr Daisley and others about the existence of the consent and in failing to take steps to make amends after the consent was found”.

It sounds like small town nonsense where Council just hated Daisley and wanted someone else running the site. I hope that Damien Grant gets appointed liquidator of Council assets so that Daisley can get his due. It would make a wonderful movie.


Dr Eric Crampton is the Chief Economist at The New Zealand Initiative. This article was first published (HERE) on his blog, Offsetting Behaviour.

Brian Easton: Minsky and the housing market

Speculative bubbles have occurred in the New Zealand housing market.  BRIAN EASTON writes –

Speculative bubbles are common. The Global Financial Crisis of 2008 was an example, as was the New Zealand finance companies’ crash about the same time. The 1987 share market crash was another example, as was the 1929 Wall St Crash. There are at least two major bubbles going on at the moment – one in the crypto-currency market and one in the Chinese Financial System.

Hyman Minsky provided one of the best ways to analyse such bubbles: ‘the financial system swings between robustness and fragility and these swings are an integral part of the process that generates the business cycle’. He thought that such financial instability – and the booms and busts which accompanies it – was inevitable in a so-called ‘free’ market economy, unless government steps in to control through regulation, central bank action and other tools. Continue reading “Brian Easton: Minsky and the housing market”

Karl du Fresne: A few more thoughts on Luxon, Pugh and the media – oh, and press secretaries too

The irony of the Maureen Pugh furore is that it has caused far more damage to Christopher Luxon than to Pugh.

Luxon has come out of it looking like a control freak, intolerant of any deviation from the party line.

This should surprise no one. He comes from a corporate background, and the corporate world values conformity above almost everything else. Original thinkers are seen as problematical and even threatening. Conventional men who play golf and wear suits are naturally most comfortable in the company of other conventional men who play golf and wear suits.

John Key came from a corporate background too, but of a different type: one that placed a high value on individual risk-taking. One difference between Key and Luxon is that Key, for all his faults, seemed to have more trust in his own judgment. Continue reading “Karl du Fresne: A few more thoughts on Luxon, Pugh and the media – oh, and press secretaries too”

Mahuta heads overseas (but have non-Maori been left out of her delegation?) while Luxon gushes about Nats’ Three Waters plans

Buzz from the Beehive

Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta’s latest travel plans have been posted on the Beehive website today, advising she is packing her bags to travel to Japan and Singapore tomorrow “to strengthen Aotearoa New Zealand’s connections with Indo-Pacific partners”.

But it seems she is strengthening the connections only for some New Zealanders.

The press statement says:

She will be accompanied by a Maori delegation which will strengthen Maori business and people-to-people links.

“I am looking to promote opportunities to further grow Māori commercial and cultural opportunities with Japanese partners.”

No mention is made of non-Maori business people accompanying the Minister.

Perhaps they have been included but the press statement has been crafted to pitch to Mahuta’s Maori supporters and voters.

Continue reading “Mahuta heads overseas (but have non-Maori been left out of her delegation?) while Luxon gushes about Nats’ Three Waters plans”