Ardern greets UN General Assembly in te reo before stating NZ’s stance on the big issues – including the wretched veto

Buzz from the Beehive

The Beehive website treats us today to the speech – or “national statement – which our PM has delivered to the United Nations General Assembly.

The speech has been posted along with news about the government …

  • investing around $19 million to support upgrades at 30 of the 32 “potential” sporting facilities earmarked for New Zealand co-hosting the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023: and
  • announcing a strategy to enlist all government agencies in preserving Pacific languages.

The $19 million investment announced by Sport and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson will support upgrades at “30 of the 32 potential sporting facilities earmarked for the tournament”, including pitch, lighting and facility enhancements, and gender-neutral changing spaces.

This suggests the Government does not know which sporting facilities will be used for the tournament but is investing the money regardless – just in case.

At least taxpayers aren’t picking up the full tab.  The venues and local councils are also contributing to the costs of these upgrades.

A breakdown of the Government’s investment by region/venue can be found in the press statement which also points readers to a full list of venues earmarked by FIFA for the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 on FIFA’s website. Continue reading “Ardern greets UN General Assembly in te reo before stating NZ’s stance on the big issues – including the wretched veto”

Mahuta’s husband and the Public Service Commission inquiry: how Chris Hipkins ineptly played the race card

We intended alerting our readers (if they had not already noticed) to how Public Service Minister Chris Hipkins played the race card in the matter of the Public Service Commission deciding to look into the propriety of government contracts awarded to Nanaia Mahuta’s husband.

We have taken a short cut and will draw attention, instead, to this post on Kiwiblog by David Farrar under the heading Hipkins apologises for smearing English.

Farrar references a report posted by Stuff  (which until now has studiously steered clear of the contracts and the questions about  procedural issues they have raised).

Public Service Minister Chris Hipkins has apologised in the House to former finance minister Sir Bill English for dragging his family into an exchange over government contracts awarded to the husband of Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta. Continue reading “Mahuta’s husband and the Public Service Commission inquiry: how Chris Hipkins ineptly played the race card”

No, we are not a member of the Friends of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty – but we are on friendly terms with them

We reported yesterday on the speech – a short one of around 500 words – which the PM delivered to the 10th meeting of the Friends of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test Ban Treaty.

She said the gathering provided an important opportunity to reiterate New Zealand’s unwavering commitment to achieving a world without nuclear weapons and she gave her audience a rundown on  our position.

But Point of Order could find no announcement that we had joined the group.  We were left to wonder if the PM was speaking as the representative of a member country or whether she had been invited among other guests who were attending.

We can now affirm that New Zealand is not a member. Continue reading “No, we are not a member of the Friends of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty – but we are on friendly terms with them”

High Court sits vac – it looks like we don’t qualify but (while we live off our nest eggs) our bank deposits will be better protected

Latest from the Beehive

The Government opened up a great career opportunity yesterday at much the same time as it announced an initiative to protect – within limits – our savings.

The job opportunity (which excited us here, at Point of Order, until we were alerted to the age limit likely to be applied) is to become a judge.

Attorney-General David Parker has called for nominations and expressions of interest in appointment to the High Court Bench.

On the savings front, under legislation introduced in Parliament yesterday, New Zealanders will have up to $100,000 of their deposits in any eligible institution guaranteed in the event the institution fails.

Those announcements are to be found on the Beehive websiete along with news that … Continue reading “High Court sits vac – it looks like we don’t qualify but (while we live off our nest eggs) our bank deposits will be better protected”

PM speaks about our support for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test Ban Treaty – but have we joined the Friends of the CTBT?

Buzz from the Beehive

It was a short speech – around 500 words – on a big subject, when the PM addressed the 10th meeting of the Friends of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test Ban Treaty.

She said the gathering provided an important opportunity to reiterate New Zealand’s unwavering commitment to achieving a world without nuclear weapons.

And she said New Zealand, as a firm opponent of nuclear weapons, including nuclear weapons testing, has been “a steadfast supporter of the CTBT since it was first proposed”.

CTBT is the abbreviation employed in the world of diplomacy for Comprehensive Nuclear-Test Ban Treaty

But here’s the thing:  we can’t tell from the speech if the PM was speaking as the representative of a member of the organisation she was addressing or whether she had been invited among other guests who were attending.

Point of Order searched the Beehive and Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade websites but could find no announcement that we had joined the group, although Australia was one of its founders.

Much closer to home, two ministers have posted announcements affecting the education and wellbeing of the nation’s children and the way schools are funded. Continue reading “PM speaks about our support for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test Ban Treaty – but have we joined the Friends of the CTBT?”

Govt paves the way for wealthy immigrants to come here – but will this initiative be more successful than efforts to lure nurses?

Buzz from the Beehive

Economic Development Minister Stuart Nash and Immigration Minister Michael Wood have announced the official opening of the new Active Investor Plus visa category, created to attract “high-value” investors.

They described this initiative as a key milestone in the Government’s Immigration Rebalance strategy.

All going well, the wealthy migrants who come here with their millions will be willing to roll up their sleeves and pitch in where help is needed as well as invest where their money is needed.

According to a Stuff report this week, businesses are desperate to attract staff:

The struggle to find and keep staff is repeated all over the country in many industries, and just under 11,000 employers have applied for accreditation to bring in almost 53,000 migrant workers.

It has been  a busy week for Wood.

It was his job as Workplace Relations and Safety Minister to announce the Bill establishing Queen Elizabeth II Memorial Day has passed its third reading.

The passing of the Queen Elizabeth II Memorial Day Bill designates 26 September 2022 as a one-off public holiday.  The holiday will coincide with the State Memorial Service, to be held in Wellington Cathedral. This will be televised and live-streamed.

The decision to hold a one-off Public Holiday in the Queen’s honour is in line with similar holidays in the UK and Australia. Continue reading “Govt paves the way for wealthy immigrants to come here – but will this initiative be more successful than efforts to lure nurses?”

Bryce Edwards’ Political Roundup: It’s time for the Auditor-General to investigate Mahuta contracts

Back in May, Point of Order drew attention to the work by journalists outside of the mainstream media who had been delving into public posts filled by members of Nanaia Mahuta’s family and payments made to companies with which family members are associated.

The Platform – for example – reported (HERE) on the questions raised after two payments come to light from Ministry for the Environment to companies owned by Mahuta family members for their roles in an expert group.  In another article (HERE) The Platform drew attention to co-governance roles filled by family members and the influence the family was wielding on the restructuring of New Zealand’s governance.  

Much of the information that had come to light at that time and subsequently has been winkled out and posted in tweets by the pseudonymous “Thomas Cranmer”.  

Partly by tapping into Thomas Cranmer, the New Zealand Herald has drawn its readers’ attention to the matter of the Mahuta appointments.  Other media – notably Stuff and RNZ – have been  curiously lacking in curiosity. 

DR BRYCE EDWARDS,  director of the Democracy Project, in a column posted in July mentioned  the mainstream media’s bemusing avoidance of the Mahuta matter.   Today he is revisiting the issue and makes the case for an inquiry by  the Auditor- General or the Public Service Commission.

Public Services Commissioner Peter Hughes has been tasked with running a ruler across the entire public service to ensure everything is above board – a request that came from Public Services Minister Chris Hipkins. Hipkins was asked to examine the issue by Mahuta following several news stories outlining concerns about potential conflicts of interests.”

Dr Bryce Edwards writes… 

Pressure is increasing on the Auditor-General to undertake an inquiry into numerous contracts, appointments and grants awarded to members of Cabinet Minister Nanaia Mahuta’s family by various government departments she has had official responsibility for.

Allegations and revelations are mounting up, meaning this issue can no longer be ignored. As economist and political commentator Eric Crampton wrote yesterday, if the allegations – especially those documented by Herald journalist Kate McNamara – bear up, then

“New Zealand is a fundamentally corrupt country. If it doesn’t, the air needs clearing”.     Continue reading “Bryce Edwards’ Political Roundup: It’s time for the Auditor-General to investigate Mahuta contracts”

A good question about the Govt’s shying from prying into how well it performed on pandemic policies

David Farrar raises a good question on Kiwiblog in an item he has posted under the heading…

Why no Commission of Inquiry?

  • The Pike River Coal Mine tragedy in 2010 killed 29 people and had a fiscal cost of around $100 million. The National Government held a Royal Commission of Inquiry
  • The second Canterbury earthquake in 2011 killed 185 people and had a fiscal cost of up to $30 billion. The National Government held a Royal Commission of Inquiry.
  • The Havelock North water contamination in 2016 killed four people and had a minor fiscal cost. The National Government held a Government Inquiry.
  • The Covid-19 pandemic has had between 2,000 and 3,000 deaths and has had a fiscal cost of over $60 billion. Labour refused to hold a Commission of Inquiry into the response.

Farrar wraps up:

Labour are being stupid by not holding a Commission of Inquiry. We need to learn from what has happened, not pretend it was perfect.

James Shaw gave us a rundown on the Govt’s climate-change programme (before the Beehive website fell silent)

Buzz from the Beehive

The PM yesterday announced a national minute of silence will be observed at the start of New Zealand’s State Memorial Service for Queen Elizabeth II, at 2pm on Monday 26 September.

The one-hour service will be held at the Wellington Cathedral of St Paul, during a one-off public holiday to mark the Queen’s death.

“The minute’s silence is a way for people, wherever they might be in New Zealand, to stand together to mark an extraordinary 70 years of service,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.

 Perhaps Ardern’s ministers misinterpreted the announcement.

They have been silent – in terms of posting press statements on the Beehive website – ever since the PM posted her statement.

The only new post, when Point of Order  checked out the site around noon, was a speech which Climate Change Minister James Shaw had delivered to a climate change and business conference.

It had been posted earlier than the PM’s announcement about a minute’s silence. Continue reading “James Shaw gave us a rundown on the Govt’s climate-change programme (before the Beehive website fell silent)”

Curbing the creep of concrete into the countryside to protect our most fertile land for food production

Buzz from the Beehive

The Government’s policy to protect fertile land – food producers insist – has been too long coming.

The pace of urban sprawl and of concreting over fertile soils strongly suggests the growers are right.  Over the past 20 years, about 35,000 hectares of our highly productive land has been carved up for urban or rural residential development while 70,000 hectares has been converted to lifestyle blocks.

But a National Policy Statement for Highly Productive Land (NPS-HPL) will require councils to identify, map and manage highly productive land to ensure its availability for growing vegetables, fruit and other primary production.

Environment Minister David Parker said the NPS will greatly improve the protection of highly productive land from inappropriate subdivision, use and development.

 “We need to house our people and to feed them too. Our cities and towns need to grow but not at the expense of the land that’s best suited to grow our food.

“The NPS-HPL will help protect our best growing areas so Kiwis continue to have access to leafy greens and other healthy foods.” Continue reading “Curbing the creep of concrete into the countryside to protect our most fertile land for food production”