Whether it is Posie Parker, hate-speech laws or donations, the East Coast MP is completely out of her depth. Graham Adams writes –
Kiritapu Allan was appointed New Zealand’s 51st Minister of Justice on 14 June 2022. Her predecessors — nearly all men — include political heavyweights such as Jack Marshall, Ralph Hanan, Martyn Finlay, Geoffrey Palmer, Doug Graham and Annette King.
Less than a year into her tenure, Allan is looking more and more like a rube who lacks the gravitas and good judgment to hold such an important position in government.
The news that in 2020 she accepted a payment of $1500 and rent subsidies worth $9185 for a campaign office from Race Relations Commissioner Meng Foon and his wife but didn’t declare a conflict of interest when she became Minister of Justice was astonishing. Foon’s appointment was made by then Justice Minister Andrew Little in 2019 but Allan’s office is responsible for deciding whether to reappoint Foon when his five-year term expires next year.
Caught out, she defended herself by saying she was a backbencher at the time Foon was appointed and — incorrectly — that she had not received a monetary donation from him. Reminded that she had, indeed, received $1500 she said she had declared the donations to the Electoral Commission. However, in a tacit admission that was insufficient for a minister, she hastily recorded a “perceived conflict of interest” after 1News had interviewed her — as if that would be enough to redeem her reputation as a conscientious member of Cabinet. Continue reading “GRAHAM ADAMS: Is Kiri Allan fit to be Justice Minister?” →
Buzz from the Beehive
hard-working big-spending ministers have added to the list of announcements which make demands on the public purse, since Point of Order last checked the government’s official website.
But a statement released in the names of Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Transport Minister Michael Wood is astonishingly bereft of hard data related to the costs of the initiative that enthuses them.
They announced a boost for rail travel in the Wairarapa and Lower North island in the form of a fleet of 18 “brand-new trains”.
But the only hint that developments like this cost money is in the very last paragraph:
“Since 2017, the Government has invested $8.6 billion to build a resilient and reliable network after decades of neglect and decline. This investment has gone into the bread and butter work of replacing tracks, installing new culverts and bridges, and upgrading turnouts, all of which are needed for a safe and effective network,” Michael Wood said
The other new statement, from Health Minister Ayesha Verrall, is more upfront about the cost of a new integrated health facility which she has officially opened for the Buller community. Continue reading “Finance Minister is coy about costs of trains for lower North Island while Health Minister may hope to bamboozle Buller people” →
This week US President Joe Biden issued a video message to say he was joining former President Donald Trump in offering to renew his employment in 2024.
For different reasons, both men consider themselves eminently qualified. An important reason for both is that they are not the other.
Recent disclosures in the Fox News defamation case suggest that some who once had access to Trump are unenthusiastic about his candidacy.
Continue reading “America: Time for an introvert” →
Buzz from the Beehive
There was nothing fresh on the government’s official website when Point of Order checked this morning on the doings of our hard-working ministers of the Crown.
This was no surprise, we reasoned. They will be busy finding someone willing to lend them the billions they need to plug the deficit in the Budget books.
This reasoning was based on RNZ’s report of economist Cameron Bagrie predicting Labour could end up borrowing more than it planned for this year’s Budget given the “immense competing interests” it is facing.
This prediction was made in the wake of the PM delivering a speech in Auckland in which he described next month’s Budget as a “no frills” affair with no major tax changes.
Bagrie told RNZ the government had a “real balancing act” on its hands and some “big considerations” beyond the election.
Labour needed to dial back spending to try reduce inflation, Bagrie said, while also responding to the intense pressure to provide cost-of-living support, increase public sector wages, and drive the cyclone recovery. Continue reading “While an economist predicts govt will be lifting its borrowing, the PM and his Housing Minister welcome the results of spending” →
There is much amiss with the country’s school system – and with government plans for change.
- Regular student attendance – defined by the Ministry of Education as students being at school 90% of the time during the survey period – dropped to 6% during term 4 last year. – Stuff.
- Figures released under the Official Information Act to Newstalk ZB show nearly 10,000 5 to 13-year-olds were not enrolled in the official school system as of 2022 – a significant jump from slightly more than 6300 reported in the year before. The 58 per cent increase is the highest number reported in the last five years. – NZ Herald
- Everything from the curriculum to teacher training and the NCEA system needs to be overhauled if we want to solve New Zealand’s “education crisis”, according to a new report, Save Our Schools: Solutions for New Zealand’s Education Crisis. The report from the NZ Initiative says the current curriculum is knowledge-poor, does not provide teachers with enough guidance and focuses on “key competencies” which are learned innately, rather than the teaching of academic knowledge. – NZ Herald
At Homepaddock today, Ele Ludemann highlights another concern. She writes –
Did you know that the Education and Workforce select committee is considering the Education and Training Amendment Act (3)?
And did you know that it includes this requirement for appointments to school boards?
- updating the criteria for co-opting and appointing board members to reflect today’s school communities, by adding the genders, sexualities and sexes of the school’s students and of the school community, and disabled students at the school and the school’s disability community.
Continue reading “ELE LUDEMANN: Education is in crisis – and now the govt is planning to promote gender activism in schools” →
Strong demand for its services and falling jet fuel prices have pushed Air New Zealand to lift its full year earnings guidance.
That is welcome news for shareholders who at the height of the pandemic must have feared their investment would crash and burn. As it was, the government in effect had to bail it out.
The airline is now forecasting underlying earnings for the 2023 financial year of between $510m and $560m.
That is significantly better than the previous guidance range of $450m to $530m provided in its interim results in February.
“Since this time, the airline has continued to experience strong levels of demand on both the domestic and international networks,” Air NZ said today.
Jet fuel prices had also fallen below assumed levels in the previous earnings guidance, but the weaker NZ dollar reduced the benefit of those falls.
Continue reading “National airline flying higher as demand for its services grows” →
West Coasters will be celebrating the progress being made by one of its biggest companies, Westland Milk Products, which has surged back into the black after record sales. Now it is to invest $70m to expand its manufacturing of dairy protein lactoferrin.
Westland, which was taken over by the Chinese giant Yili, the world’s fifth biggest dairy company, in 2019 when it was struggling to stay afloat plans to treble production of the protein at its Hokitika factory. In the process it will become one of the top producers in the world.
The investment is the second major outlay for Westland since Yili, rescued the business
Westland CEO Richard Wyeth said the new plant and expansion fitted its plan to concentrate on high-value consumer goods and specialised ingredients from its milk supply.
“We can ensure that we extract maximum value for that product, and our lactoferrin strategy is a critical part of that.”
Continue reading “Westland Milk Products’new investment blunts earlier criticism of Chinese takeover” →
Buzz from the Beehive
We have waited patiently to post this ministerial press statement and some of the reaction, because the announcement was under embargo until 12.30pm and it was not then posted promptly on the Beehive website.
At first blush, the statement gives good cause for wealthier New Zealanders to brace to have more of their money taken from them by a government with an increasing debt to settle and an inclination to show “fairness” in its tax policies.
It has been posted on the government’s official website along with an announcement that primary care providers are being given a $44 million funding boost.
This is not intended to improve health services generally, let’s be clear. The spending is unabashedly discriminatory, designed
“ to deliver high quality services focussed on benefitting Māori and Pacific populations”.
Another announcement – this one designed to promote discriminatory policies in the child-welfare domain – has the whiff of government spending about it. But there are no dollar signs in the press statement from Kelvin Davis.
As Minister of Children, Davis has announced the launch of “a new iwi-led plan to transform the way tamariki and whānau in Te Matau a Māui (Hawkes Bay) are supported”. Continue reading “IRD Minister’s tax report shows (no surprises) the benefits of getting much of your wealth from capital gains” →