Some light is thrown (but not much) on biodiversity working group’s line of accountability

Remember the consultative working group being established to develop the Wellington Regional Biodiversity Framework?

Sure you do.  It’s the group which gives more voting powers to Maori than to non-Maori members in electing co-leaders and – while it has been set up in the name of diversity – wants members to have a good grasp of Treaty stuff.

Elected members of the Greater Wellington Regional Council seem to have played no part in the way this working group is being established and the Wellington Regional Biodiversity Framework – which involves several organisations as well as the regional council – does not report to a council committee. Continue reading “Some light is thrown (but not much) on biodiversity working group’s line of accountability”

It is much too easy to win headlines – and then be treated leniently – for assaulting MPs

It’s rare for a politician in New Zealand to be mugged while out walking, broadcaster Barry Soper observed after Green Party co-leader James was assaulted in Wellington last week, although many had got into “skirmishes” when out doing their job.

The attack on Shaw prompted the PM to say New Zealanders should be proud of the access New Zealanders have to their politicians, whose job is to serve the people, but this assault showed they can’t take that for granted.

Soper recalled National’s Lockwood Smith once being forced to take a back door out of a university rather than face angry students as Education Minister.

But the last time a politician had been “supposedly attacked” while out walking was Keith Allen, a Minister in the Muldoon Government in 1983. Continue reading “It is much too easy to win headlines – and then be treated leniently – for assaulting MPs”

The Trough Monitor is alerted as more millions are poured into the Far North region

The announcement was made by Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis, whose Maori electorate happens to include the Kaikohe area which will benefit from the handouts.

He said the Provincial Growth Fund will invest $2.8 million “to further economic growth opportunities in tourism in the Mid-North and help lift the prosperity and well being of its communities”.

First, the PGF is investing $1.79 million to redevelop and enhance Te Waiariki Ngawha Springs, located near Kaikohe. Continue reading “The Trough Monitor is alerted as more millions are poured into the Far North region”

Air NZ’s response to Christchurch tragedy: regional flights were grounded while its fares soared …

Move over Shane Jones – Grant Robertson might be keen to join you in assailing Air NZ for its appalling exercise in yield management at the weekend in jacking up round fares to Christchurch to $747 and $787.

It took a crisp call from Finance Minister Robertson, who holds Air NZ’s shares for the Crown, to boot common sense into the Auckland warriors who run the national carrier.

Fares were capped and compassionate fares made available.

Air NZ furthermore cancelled 17 regional services from Christchurch, saying, it was not possible to screen customers and their baggage.

But wait a minute.  Those flights (on ATRs and Q300s) aren’t screened anyway.

So, there must have been another reason.

Perhaps the police wanted to prevent possible accomplices stealing away on non-screened flights. Continue reading “Air NZ’s response to Christchurch tragedy: regional flights were grounded while its fares soared …”

Queue here to register your thoughts on a capital gains tax – but not if the queue gets too big

Labour  ministers’  enthusiasm   for a  capital   gains  tax   appears to  be waning  by the day.  Even the PM,  Jacinda  Ardern, no longer  seems to be talking  up  the need to  make the  tax system  “fairer”  by  bringing in  a  comprehensive   CGT.

Revenue  Minister  Stuart   Nash   went so far  as to  say  this  week   “there is  nothing to  consult  on”.

Here  is what he told  Parliament  on Thursday:

Nash: When I said I’m not consulting on a capital gains tax, I’m also not consulting on the 19 measures that the Tax Working Group considers would reduce compliance cost to small to medium enterprises.

Gerry Brownlee: Why not”?

NASH: Because—can I say this again—there have been absolutely no decisions made on this, so why would I formally consult when there’s absolutely nothing to consult on?” Continue reading “Queue here to register your thoughts on a capital gains tax – but not if the queue gets too big”

One lone councillor argued for others (eg farmers) to join iwi in shaping Horizons water strategy

Horizons regional councillors were applauded in a Stuff editorial  when they decided to conduct a two-months trial to live-stream their meetings.

The editorial agreed with Cr John Barrow, who said Horizons covers a wide Manawatu-Whanganui area area and live-streaming would get more people involved.

“The more scrutiny we get, the better”.  

Editorial writer Jimmy Ellingham said it’s easy to argue that anyone can come along to watch a council meeting, but the realities of modern life make that difficult, especially for daytime meetings.

Horizons has 5500 followers on Facebook and even a tiny fraction of that number choosing to watch a live-stream of a council meeting would be a positive.

While the council voted to enhance democracy with live-streaming in its region, the same can’t be said of plans to give a privileged position to iwi to involve them more in managing Manawatū waterways.  This issue was covered in another Stuff report.

As part of the changes, the council would create a committee councillors and iwi leaders would sit on to come up with strategies for different catchments.

Final decisions on what to do would still sit with the full council. Other regional councils, including Greater Wellington Regional Council, have similar models. Continue reading “One lone councillor argued for others (eg farmers) to join iwi in shaping Horizons water strategy”

Acculturation at our central bank – Orr branches into spiritualism (maybe to give more mana to money)

Our financial ecosystem seems well and truly rooted.

Point of Order doffs its cap to Michael Reddell for alerting the public to the Reserve Bank of New Zealand’s plunge into political correctness.

Reddell draws attention, too, to the awful reality that a great deal of government improvidence goes undetected by the Point of Order Trough Monitor, which limits its surveillance to the profligacy of the inhabitants of the Beehive.

In particular, he has highlighted the Reserve Bank’s recruiting a “cultural capability advisor Maori” and wonders what this bureaucrat will do in an agency with three main jobs, none of them involving direct dealing with the general public – Maori, European, Chinese, Mexican or whatever:

  • the Bank issues bank notes and coins.  That involves purchasing them from overseas producers, and selling them to (repurchasing them from) the head offices of retail banks;
  • it sets monetary policy.  There is one policy interest rate, one New Zealand dollar, affecting economic activiity (in the short-term) and prices without distinction by race or culture.  Making monetary policy happen, at a technical level, involves setting an interest rate on accounts banks hold with the Reserve Bank, and a rate at which the Reserve Bank will lend (secured) to much the same group.  The target – the inflation target, conditioned on employment (a single target for all New Zealand) – is set for them by the Minister of Finance.
  • and it regulates/supervises banks, non-bank deposit-takers, and insurance companies, under various bits of legislation that don’t differentiate by race or culture.

Continue reading “Acculturation at our central bank – Orr branches into spiritualism (maybe to give more mana to money)”