McAnulty mentions “democracy” as he braces to meet local authority leaders – and maybe he will dive into Three Waters issues

Buzz from the Beehive

Amidst a raft of statements that crow about government achievements and/or bray about new initiatives, Point of Order found an oddity:  a statement from the newly minted Associate Minister of Local Government who intends to meet local government leaders around the country to talk about this, that and …

Well, surely he will want to talk (if not listen) about Three Waters and explain the influence that will be wielded by the sister of his colleague,  Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta,

But the press statement only hinted that  Three Waters would be on the agenda.

The crowing and braying statements, of course, were much less puzzling. Continue reading “McAnulty mentions “democracy” as he braces to meet local authority leaders – and maybe he will dive into Three Waters issues”

Mahuta addresses Diplosphere: ours is a liberal democracy, she says, and other nations can learn from our experience

Buzz from the Beehive

Measures to raise eligibility thresholds to help more than 90,000 New Zealanders that currently are denied access to legal aid were announced today

Changes to the Legal Services Regulations 2011 and the Legal Services Act 2011 will give  effect to $148.7 million of funding in Budget 2022.

The changes are:

  • increasing the income eligibility thresholds by 15% from 1 January 2023, making 93,000 more people eligible for civil and family legal aid in the first year,
  • removing the legal aid user charge, payable by most civil and family legal aid recipients,
  • removing interest on repayment of unpaid legal debt,
  • increasing the debt repayment thresholds by 16.5% for debt established from 1 January 2023, relieving financial pressures for around 16,000 low-income and vulnerable New Zealanders, and
  • increasing the civil and family legal aid eligibility thresholds and debt repayment thresholds by an additional 1.9% per year with the last increase on 1 July 2025.

Just one other new item was posted on the Beehive website when we checked this morning, this one a speech – the second in four days – by Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta.

This time she used a word – “democracy” – that had been missing from the speech on space policy which she delivered on July 1. Continue reading “Mahuta addresses Diplosphere: ours is a liberal democracy, she says, and other nations can learn from our experience”

Jackson takes another small step towards action at Ihumātao while Mahuta aims for the heavens with Treaty-influenced space policy

Buzz from the Beehive

Down here on Earth – more particularly, in Ihumātao – progress on doing whatever is going to be done to that disputed patch of land has been glacial.

Newsroom drew attention  to the dawdling in an article in April which noted that Māori Development Minister Willie Jackson had hoped a governance group, Roopu Whakahaere, would be up and running in February

“…  but it could now be late May before that happens”.

Or June, perhaps.

At the time Newsroom posted that article, 16 months had passed since the Government announced the controversial land – home to a long-running occupation – had been purchased by the Crown from Fletcher Building for $30 million.

Yesterday Newsroom reported that the governance group has finally met.

Almost 18 months to the date the land was purchased, the three Ahi Kā representatives have been mostly decided and the group had its first meeting with Māori Development Minister Willie Jackson late last month.

And yesterday Willie Jackson officially announced …

Drum roll, please. Continue reading “Jackson takes another small step towards action at Ihumātao while Mahuta aims for the heavens with Treaty-influenced space policy”

Plenty of numbers amplify the Beehive’s braying but farmers find fault with EU trade deal and RBNZ appointments are challenged

Buzz from the Beehive

Numbers, quotas and ratios have been high in ministerial considerations over the past 24 hours or so.

Export revenue to the EU will grow by up to $1.8 billion annually on full implementation of the trade deal being ballyhooed by the PM and her Trade Minister.

More than 57,000 light-electric and Non Plug-in Hybrid vehicles were registered in the first year of operation of the Government’s Clean Car Discount Scheme, the most on record, Transport Minister Michael Wood brayed.

Seventy new constables heading for the frontline after Police wing 355 graduated in Porirua brought the total number of new officers since Labour took office to 3,303, Police Minister Chris Hipkins boasted.

A number – or quota – that seems to have been important  to Finance Minister Grant Robertson is not immediately apparent.  But a cursory reading of the CVs of his new appointments to the board of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand suggests he was aiming for co-governance – or a balance of Maori-non-Maori directors. Three of the seven appointees have tribal affiliations.  A fourth is a director on the Ngai Tahu board. Continue reading “Plenty of numbers amplify the Beehive’s braying but farmers find fault with EU trade deal and RBNZ appointments are challenged”

Bold ambitions – Govt aspires to rid us of bashers and the Security Council veto while building a “great” workplace for women

 

Buzz from the Beehive

The Government has declared or reiterated three bold ambitions, one of them (the elimination of family violence) probably unachievable.

Whether progress is being made towards the achievement of another (ensuring New Zealand is “a great place for women to work”) raises measurement issues. No matter what is accomplished, there are bound to be demands for more to be done – and what is “a great place” for women to work?

A third bold ambition – which looks like another mission impossible – was declared in a speech headed PM’s comments to NATO session. 

Jacinda Ardern said Russia’s use of its UN Security Council position to block consideration of its invasion of Ukraine is morally bankrupt “and demonstrates why we must continue to seek reform of the UN”. Continue reading “Bold ambitions – Govt aspires to rid us of bashers and the Security Council veto while building a “great” workplace for women”

PM condemns disinformation and upholds democracy in speech in Madrid – now let’s see what happens back in NZ

Buzz from the Beehive

Legislation to tighten things, legislation to relax things and a speech which reminds us of threats to our democracy – from the PM, we are delighted to note – feature in the latest posts on the Beehive website.

Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister David Clark has had a busy day, announcing two lots of legislation.

  • Legislation that bans major supermarkets from blocking their competitors’ access to land to set up new stores, to pave the way for greater competition in the sector, is the first in a suite of measures after a Commerce Commission investigation found competition in the retail grocery sector is not working.  The Commerce (Grocery Sector Covenants) Amendment Bill amends the Commerce Act 1986, banning restrictive covenants on land, and exclusive covenants on leases. It also makes existing covenants unenforceable and enhances the Commission’s information-gathering powers.
  • The Financial Markets (Conduct of Institutions) Amendment Bill, which has passed its third reading, will establish a new financial conduct scheme that ensures financial institutions put customers before profits.  This follows reviews by the Reserve Bank of New Zealand and Financial Markets Authority which found banks and insurers in New Zealand lack focus on good customer outcomes, and have insufficient systems and controls to identify, manage and remedy conduct issues. The FMA will work with financial institutions to ensure they are prepared for the new regime, and licensing applications are expected to open in mid-2023. The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment will develop supporting regulations. The regime is expected to come fully into force in early 2025.

Continue reading “PM condemns disinformation and upholds democracy in speech in Madrid – now let’s see what happens back in NZ”

Where’s there’s a swill there’s a way in – or how to deal with rejection, expose bias and secure $17,000 for book reviews

Newsroom has alerted the Point of Order Trough Monitor to happenings involving a trough from which the swill – according to an aggrieved applicant – has not been impartially distributed.

The Newsroom report is headed Writer wins ‘bias’ complaint and says a writer’s complaint against Creative New Zealand funding has been upheld.

This should give cause for  a thorough examination of the trough’s  administration, because Creative NZ seems to have acknowledged there was a bias in the way some oinkers were favoured and others nudged to the back of he queue.

Furthermore, Newsroom draws attention to state funding bypassing the people who create books in favour of organisations that talk about the people who create books.

But Creative NZ should already be the subject of a thorough examination by a government which claims to be careful with its fiscal management after the Taxpayers’ Union (not for the first time) early this month exposed bizarre handouts of public money in a report  headed You Funded A Ballet Called ‘The Sl*Tcracker’

This showed taxpayers are forking out for sex worker exhibitions, ‘dismantling e-waste for fun’, pictionary, queer and trans drawing classes, interpretive dance, music courses for womxn and femmes, a ballet called ‘The Sl*tcracker’, and a literal clown show. Continue reading “Where’s there’s a swill there’s a way in – or how to deal with rejection, expose bias and secure $17,000 for book reviews”

Kiri warms towards tougher party funding restrictions (perhaps encouraged by the Nats warning of the “chilling effect”)

Buzz from the Beehive

The National Party’s strong objection to plans to overhaul New Zealand’s political donations regime, expressed in submissions on the Government’s proposed sweeping changes to electoral law, were reported in a Stuff report last week.

The changes would include lowering the threshold for political parties to disclose donors from $15,000 to $1500 and require political parties to make public their annual financial statements .

This would have a “chilling effect” on democracy, the Nats contended.

The Ardern government isn’t too fussed about protecting the country’s democratic electoral arrangements nowadays, of course, as has become glaringly obvious over the past year or so (see here, here and here for evidence)

And hey – if the Nats (a) are bleating about an electoral-reform proposal being disagreeable and (b) are warning about its chilling effect on democracy…

Well, let’s get on with it.

And sure enough, Justice Minister Kiri Allan today announced changes to our electoral laws that will require the disclosure of:

  • donor identities for any party donations over $5,000;
  • the number and total value of party donations under $1,500 not made anonymously;
  • the proportion of total party donations that are in-kind (non-monetary) donations; and
  • loans to candidates from unregistered lenders. 

Continue reading “Kiri warms towards tougher party funding restrictions (perhaps encouraged by the Nats warning of the “chilling effect”)”

Academics announce new Centre of Indigenous Science – and now (it seems) they will find out what they should be teaching

Any notion that “the science is settled” is (or should be) anathema to good scientists.

There is always more to learn

“… because the scientific method never provides absolute conclusions. It’s always possible that the next observation will contradict the current consensus.”

 But in this country the fundamental matter of defining science and determining what should be taught to science studies in our universities has become more unsettling than unsettled.

“Indigenous knowledge” has become “indigenous science”, overriding the conventional view that science is colour blind and culturally neutral – that science is science is science.

And the heads of our most highly esteemed academic institutions do not resist the push to have “indigenous science” incorporated within their science faculties rather than – let’s say – Māori Studies or anthropological departments.

And so last week the Otago Daily Times reported:   Continue reading “Academics announce new Centre of Indigenous Science – and now (it seems) they will find out what they should be teaching”

Culture Minister coy about Film Commission appointments – but she must decide on Dame Kerry’s role as leading lady

No appointments or reappointments to the board of the New Zealand Film Commission have been announced by Carmel Sepuloni, Minister of Arts, Culture and Heritage, and declared in ministerial press statements since early 2019.  Yet the appointments of two board members she announced then (when she was Associate Minister of Arts, Culture and Heritage) should have expired on 30 March last year.

Meanwhile the commission has become embroiled in a conflict-of-interest controversy which has resulted in its governance procedures being subjected to an independent review and its chief executive being on “special leave”.

Its website says the commission is governed by an eight-member board appointed by the Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage.

Members represent the film industry and the wider business and arts community. The Board meets every two months to set policy and budgets, monitor progress and consider applications for feature film financing. Continue reading “Culture Minister coy about Film Commission appointments – but she must decide on Dame Kerry’s role as leading lady”