Figures flow when Woods answers questions about housing and govt targets – and look, they show a hefty rise in the waiting list

Our Beehive Bulletin … 

While Housing Minister Megan Woods was being grilled at Question Time in Parliament about the government’s performance in her portfolio domain, the Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito Williams Sio, was announcing new  initiatives to provide housing. 

Attorney-General David Parker, meanwhile, was announcing the appointments of three new District Court Judges, all of them in the Auckland region.   

The appointees are

Kirsten Lummis, lawyer of Auckland – appointed as a District Court Judge with jury jurisdiction to be based in Auckland. 

Nick Webby, lawyer of Auckland – appointed as a District Court Judge with jury jurisdiction to be based in Manukau. 

Ophir Cassidy, a lawyer of Auckland – appointed as a District Court Judge to the Waitakere District Court with a general jurisdiction warrant to sit as Youth Court Judge and to lead the Rangatahi Courts at both Hoani Waititi and Orakei Marae.                                                  

 The housing announcement for Pacific people from Sio includes: Continue reading “Figures flow when Woods answers questions about housing and govt targets – and look, they show a hefty rise in the waiting list”

Oh dear – see who was offended when Goldsmith called for Kiwis to be treated equally in electoral arrangements

Debbie Ngarewa-Packer’s parents – according to a report in Stuff – delivered some strong mantra to live by.  One of them: “Don’t accept, you push back, be provocative, but always be respectful.”

But what happens when political opponents don’t accept, push back and  – dare we suggest it? – are a mite provocative?

Why, you interrupt their speech and complain you have taken offence as tangata whenua.

Debbie Ngarewa-Packer, of course, is the Maori Party co-leader who now sits in Parliament promoting a political agenda that promotes the interests of Maori.

She has an aptitude for spicing her rhetoric with hyperbole while championing their cause:

“I stand here as a descendant of a people who survived a Holocaust, a genocide, sponsored by this House and members of Parliament whose portraits still hang from the walls.

The aforementioned Stuff report notes she stood for and was elected to the South Taranaki District Council and was deputy mayor between 2007-2010.

Nevertheless she argues for all local and regional councils to be required by law to establish at least one Māori ward in their area.

On the other hand, she bridles at the suggestion other ethnic groups should be entitled to electoral arrangements that ensure their representation.  

This became evident when National’s Paul Goldsmith was questioning why separate seats in Parliament based on ethnicity should be extended to local government.

Hansard records what he said next:

So it is a question of extending that focus on difference and dividing the country on ethnic lines in the way that we organise our democracy at the local government level. I can imagine that there are many people in Auckland, where I come from, which is an intensely multicultural society, with many people of different cultures, wondering, “Well, hang on, why is it that all other New Zealanders are treated one way and Māori are treated another way when it comes to how we organise the local government elections?” Yes, and so people rightly … 

We didn’t get to hear the rest of the sentence because Ngarewa-Packer interrupted to raise a point of order.

As tangata whenua, I take personal offence to what is being said by the member.

When National’s Nick Smith spoke to the point of order, she cut him off too.

Hon Dr Nick Smith: Speaking to the point of order. I listened very carefully to what my colleague Goldsmith said, referring to the way in which Auckland was—

Debbie Ngarewa-Packer: Point of order. I am tangata whenua, I can say how I feel. As tangata whenua, I take personal offence to what is being said by the member.

Nick Smith had cause to complain about being interrupted while speaking on a point of order.

Assistant Speaker Jenny Salesa – curiously – disagreed.  Moreover, without hearing arguments in response to Ngarewa-Parker’s point of order, she required Goldsmith to apologise.

But apologise for what?

Hon Dr Nick Smith: Madam Speaker, it’s very unconventional for a member in the middle of a point of order to have another member simply stand up and interrupt them, and is not consistent with the way in which the House is run. The point I wish to make—

ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Hon Jenny Salesa): The member Debbie Ngarewa-Packer’s point of order was before your point of order. Can you please take a seat, the Hon Dr Nick Smith. So let me deal with Debbie Ngarewa-Packer’s point of order. She took offence to what you said, the Hon Paul Goldsmith, as tangata whenua. Can you please withdraw and apologise.

Nick Smith tried again.

Hon Dr Nick Smith: Point of order, Madam Speaker. Simply because a member may have a particular view about a privileged status of a group of New Zealanders, surely this cannot mean that my colleague Mr Goldsmith, whose comments were simply around the lines of Auckland being a multicultural city with people of multiple different ethnicities, somehow being offensive and being required to withdraw and apologise. Wokeness is not part of the Standing Orders of our Parliament. The member should not be required to withdraw and apologise for such inoffensive, normal remarks.

The Greens’ Chlöe Swarbrick then pitched in (no guesses on which side of the argument).

Chlöe Swarbrick: Speaking to the point of order, Madam Speaker, if I may, in contributing. The contributions of the Hon Paul Goldsmith spoke to the supposed privileged status of tangata whenua in Aotearoa New Zealand. If you look at any statistics, we find that tangata whenua do not occupy that space of privilege.

And then Goldsmith grabbed a chance to find what exactly he must apologise for.

Hon Paul Goldsmith: Can I just have a simple point of order. I’d just like to understand what you are asking me to apologise for. What particular words are you asking me to apologise for?

CHAIRPERSON (Hon Jenny Salesa): So the point of order that the member Debbie Ngarewa-Packer raised was that she was personally offended when you called tangata whenua being of a certain status. Can we move forward from here and can you just complete your speech, the Hon Paul Goldsmith.

Hon Paul Goldsmith: Sorry I can’t apologise for something that I’m not quite clear what it is, what specific words—and maybe the member can help me—I said that the member requires me to apologise for. A general feeling? I’m just not quite clear what it is.

CHAIRPERSON (Hon Jenny Salesa): Can I please have further clarification from the member Debbie Ngarewa-Packer about what she found so offensive.

And so  Ngarewa-Packer was given a platform to explain her grievance (and after she explained it, at Point of Order we remained bewildered).

Debbie Ngarewa-Packer: Thank you, Madam Chair. There was an offence of privileged implication and there was an offence that we belong all in one. Tangata whenua are not multicultural; we are tangata whenua. We need to stop being drifted and floated into every little pool or blanket that you believe we belong in culturally. We have a status: it’s tangata whenua.

National’s Michael Woodhouse meanwhile had been trawling through the rule book to find if Ngarewa-Packer had a case for demanding an apology.

Hon Michael Woodhouse: Speaking to that point. I’m very much trying to find the appropriate Speakers’ ruling on the taking of offence. There is a Speakers’ ruling that says that somebody cannot take offence on behalf of another member. The inference in that Speakers’ ruling is that a class of persons, also, a member could not take offence on that. I would argue that the comments made by Mr Goldsmith were debating points. If we come to a point where people can take offence on generalisation, general comments that are otherwise within Standing Orders, I’m afraid that we’re going to get into a situation where we’re going to have a lot of it. Can I also just, while I’m on my feet, make another comment for your consideration? When Dr Nick Smith spoke to the original point of order and was interrupted by Ms Ngarewa-Packer, that was not in order. He had a right to finish his point of order without interruption, and you enabled her to basically cut across that. So I’d like you to consider both of those two points.

CHAIRPERSON (Hon Jenny Salesa): So we have had this discussion. The member has raised that she has been offended. My ruling is that we just move on and to rule that when a class is offended as a class, tangata whenua, would be a significant point of order for me to rule on. I now ask the member if he would like to complete his speech in the last 12 seconds, he is most welcome to.

Twelve seconds left, huh!

Goldsmith gave it a go, only to have Swarbrick interject.

Hon PAUL GOLDSMITH: So as I was saying, before I was interrupted—

Chlöe Swarbrick: What, race baiting?

This (inevitably) triggered another point of order.

Hon Michael Woodhouse: Point of order. Madam Chair, I’m sure Mr Goldsmith won’t ask for a withdrawal, but the accusation by one member to another that that member is race baiting is clearly unparliamentarily language and shouldn’t be used.

CHAIRPERSON (Hon Jenny Salesa): The member the Hon Michael Woodhouse is not able to take offence on behalf of another member. We shall move on. Six seconds.

Goldsmith at long last finished with time for just one succinct sentence:

Well, what I’m saying is that the inference of this bill is that this Government does not trust the judgment of New Zealanders.

Exactly.

Guidance in good governance is called for – Wellington City won’t get a commissioner (not yet) but Wainuiomata lane vote will be revisited

Local body governance in the Wellington region has been found wanting in the past day or so.  City councillors in Wellington and community board members in Wainuiomata are being pressed to seek instruction on how to do a better job.

The decisions of Wellington City’s fractious councillors have huge implications for the rates burden. Those of the Wainuiomata Community Board – where cultural education is being recommended – demonstrate how a vote is prone to be overturned if local Maori are affronted.

For now, Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta has ruled out appointing a Crown commissioner for Wellington City Council where councillors have been wrangling over the future of the city’s central library.

According to Stuff:

The idea of a Crown observer or commissioner overseeing the council has been raised several times over the past year, and has come up again following disagreements over plans to privatise parts of the library building.

But that’s not the end of it, because … . Continue reading “Guidance in good governance is called for – Wellington City won’t get a commissioner (not yet) but Wainuiomata lane vote will be revisited”

The Great Reset: Deputy PM pulls the plug on Magic Talk audience after reacting (badly) to questions about a conspiracy

None of our readers should be surprised to hear of a politician ducking questions.  But Deputy PM Grant Robertson’s handling of questions about “The Great Reset” and what he did subsequently bear closer examination.

The questions posed by host Peter Williams appeared designed to give Magic Talk Mornings listeners a better understanding of this Great Reset caper and whether New Zealand would be involved.

But Roberson dismissed the phrase as a conspiracy theory and – we are told – will no longer appear on the show.

As far as Point of Order can ascertain The Great Reset is an initiative of the World Economic Forum which has triggered conspiracy theories among reactionaries who fear it is part of a vile Marxist plot to over-tax them or otherwise do them a serious economic mischief.

But there are umpteen conspiracy theories around all sorts of things, including Covid-19 and the vaccines to deal with it.  Will Robertson no long be talking about them, either?

The WEF says on its website:

There is an urgent need for global stakeholders to cooperate in simultaneously managing the direct consequences of the COVID-19 crisis. To improve the state of the world, the World Economic Forum is starting The Great Reset initiative. Continue reading “The Great Reset: Deputy PM pulls the plug on Magic Talk audience after reacting (badly) to questions about a conspiracy”

Nick Smith’s fairness questions (were Maori ward supporters given more time?) spark call for reopening of submissions on bill

The New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union  has drawn attention to a significant constitutional issue regarding our right to be consulted fairly on laws which affect our voting rights.

It’s the suggestion (the union said “disclosure”) that Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahata gave local councils advance notice of her Māori wards legislation and the short time that would be allowed for public submissions. 

The Minister had given her allies a five-day head start to prepare submissions on the Bill to entrench Maori wards, union spokesman Jordan Williams contended.

Members of the public, on the other hand, were given just one day’s notice to prepare for “the disgracefully short two-day submission window.”

Williams insisted:

“The Minister knew perfectly well what she was doing. The decision to warn her mates before blindsiding the general public can only be read as a cynical attempt to manipulate the consultation process and limit the contributions of New Zealanders opposed to the Bill.”

This compromising of the process warranted the Speaker reopening the calling of submissions, Williams said. Continue reading “Nick Smith’s fairness questions (were Maori ward supporters given more time?) spark call for reopening of submissions on bill”

Robertson signals govt will boldly go where action is needed to tackle the housing crisis

Latest from the Beehive   –

The need for bold action to deal with the country’s housing crisis was acknowledged when Finance Minister Grant Roberson this morning addressed a BNZ Breakfast in Wellington and released the 2021 Budget Policy Statement.

But he spoke only in general terms about the initiatives that will be taken on both the demand and supply side of the housing market.

The speech was posted on the Beehive  website along with news of a new trough being established.

This is yet another “no Pakeha” initiative, a $5.7 million contestable fund “to support Māori with projects that safeguard their mātauranga and taonga on marae, from the ongoing threat of COVID-19.”

We live and learn, eh, because here at Point of Order we did not previously appreciate that the pandemic posed a threat to matauranga and taonga as well as to people.

Among other Beehive announcements:

  • Health Minister Andrew Little congratulated the inaugural Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission and its board, as the Commission marks its first day as an independent Crown entity.
  • From today employers can receive a $350 payment if their employees cannot work from home while awaiting a COVID-19 test result.

Continue reading “Robertson signals govt will boldly go where action is needed to tackle the housing crisis”

How a council landed in deep water for appropriating a te reo slogan – and where not to go for advice on avoiding controversy

Point of Order noted with interest the news from the Maori Language Commission last year that research had shown the benefits which enterprises see in taking part in the revitalisation of te reo Māori. 

The press statement was headed Good for te reo, good for business!

We are aware, too, that the government strategy for te reo Māori aims at having a million New Zealanders speaking basic te reo by 2040. 

Ministers are doing their bit by injecting plenty of te reo into their speeches and press statements and by applying te reo words (for example) to the names of government agencies in preference to pragmatic English words that instantly signal an agency’s function to the great bulk of the country’s citizens (Oranga Tamariki rather than Ministry for Children).    

Alas, the commission tells us it not the right place to go for guidance on how to avoid causing offence when using te reo (at least, not in the circumstances we are about to describe).  

Its job is revitalising the language.   It is up to local iwi and councils to determine how local whakatauki is used. Continue reading “How a council landed in deep water for appropriating a te reo slogan – and where not to go for advice on avoiding controversy”

Mahuta’s fixation with indigeneity leaves us curious about how she will grasp (delicately, no doubt) the Chinese nettle

Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta could have – or should have? – addressed the Diplomatic Corps in Wellington long before now about the direction in which New Zealand’s foreign policy will be taken on her watch.  She has had the job for three months, after all.

But no.  The diplomats journeyed to the Bay of Islands, near the spot where “180 years of treaty partnership between the indigenous Maori inhabitants and the British settlers who arrived here” will be celebrated this weekend.

Wow.  That took care of “The Crown”.

The speech has been posted on The Beehive website along with –

  • Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s announcement that Matariki will be celebrated on Friday 24 June next year. “Matariki will be a distinctly New Zealand holiday; a time for reflection and celebration, and our first public holiday that recognises Te Ao Māori,” she said.
  • A record quarterly high in the number of new homes consented is regarded in the Beehive as evidence that the residential building sector is responding to Government support to get new houses built.
  • The Government is welcoming the approval for the Ngā Ūranga ki Pito-one section of Te Ara Tupua, the walking and cycling link between Wellington and Lower Hutt.  The 4.5-kilometre long, five-metre wide shared path will run along Wellington Harbour’s coastal edge, away from State Highway 2 traffic.

Continue reading “Mahuta’s fixation with indigeneity leaves us curious about how she will grasp (delicately, no doubt) the Chinese nettle”

Now that race-based wards can be introduced more easily, let’s brace for Auckland (and Parliament?) giving a stronger voice to Asians

An election has taken place and the democratic will of the people must be respected, Nanaia Mahuta proclaimed yesterday.

As Minister of Foreign Affairs she proceeded to declare:

“We confirm our support for Myanmar’s democratic institutions and the rule of law.”

But as Minister of Local Government, Mahuta recently sacked the democratically elected members of the Tauranga City Council.  

And yesterday, in the same ministerial job, she set about rewriting the rules enabling voters in that city –  or any other local body area – to challenge the introduction of race-based Māori wards.

The Tauranga proposal would have gone to a referendum after a petition calling for a community vote met a necessary threshold under the law

RNZ reported at the weekend –

In August last year, councillors voted to introduce wards in the district where nearly 20 percent of the population is Māori.

If 5 percent of electors opposed this, a community wide vote was to be called.

Local electoral officer Warwick Lampp confirmed a petition calling for a vote reached the threshold of 4742 signatures.

But it’s not going to happen. Continue reading “Now that race-based wards can be introduced more easily, let’s brace for Auckland (and Parliament?) giving a stronger voice to Asians”

Children’s Minister explains what he expects from his all-Maori advisory team while the Nats respond by saying … nothing

Children’s Minister Kelvin Davis believes the Crown should maintain responsibility for the care and protection of at-risk and vulnerable children, regardless of their race.

Moreover, he is confident his all-Maori  team of advisers will not be taking race into account as they help to improve Oranga Tamariki’s care and protection of children.

Whether all members of the team got this message is another matter.

Matthew Tukaki (the bloke who sees nothing amiss in deriding MPs who raise questions that vex him as “baboons”) is chair of the new ministerial advisory group on Oranga Tamariki.

He is on record as saying reforming the agency is a chance to make real change for Māori.

“It’s about entrenched poverty. It’s about lack of housing, mental health, addiction services primary health, the loss of jobs, you name it, it’s a multiplicity of different things. So we are charged with looking at how we take these different reports and recommendations, the issues on the table today, the things in particular Māori have been talking about for years now, and effect real change,” Mr Tukaki says.

Similarly, Dame Naida Glavish said the tough job would be “putting the pieces back together” for Māori.

“The tough job will be initiating and instilling whānau, hapū, iwi trust in a service that they haven’t had any trust in – or any reason to trust – in the last few years. That’s where the hard work is.”

Dame Naida said she was “absolutely” pleased chief executive Grainne Moss had resigned. “But it’s not about her now, it’s about us fixing up a broken system.”

In light of the Minister’s assurance about the advisory team’s focus being on all children in Oranga Tamariki care or requiring its protection, regardless of their race, we must suppose these advisers have been misreported.

The assurance was given in response to questions Point of Order put to the Minister about his appointments:

What are the reasons for the Minister appointing no non-Maori to the expert group?

 I have selected and appointed well-respected members of the community to the Ministerial Advisory Board, who each bring with them valuable expertise. When making the appointments I took into account their seniority, experience and standing in New Zealand. They will play a key role and their advice will help us improve the child care and protection system for all children and young people who come into contact with Oranga Tamariki – whether they’re Maori or non-Maori.

Does the Minister have any sympathy with the arguments promoted for a Mokopuna Authority (Māori for Māori by Māori)? 

 I met with Oranga Tamariki leadership and senior officials just before Christmas to outline my priorities and areas of focus in this portfolio. Those priorities include focusing on enhancing relationships with whānau and Māori, and starting to entrust funding and decision-making to Māori and to people on the ground in our regions.

However, I don’t accept that the Crown should absolve itself of its responsibility to care for and protect our at-risk and vulnerable children, whether they’re Maori or non- Maori.

I believe we need to reshape Oranga Tamariki and fix the system, to do better for our children and young people.

There isn’t a single, homogeneous view from Maori about how the system should work. Different Maori communities, hapū and iwi have different ideas of how they want to be involved.

So we need to engage with hapū, iwi and Māori about their capacity, their capability and their will to become involved and what their solutions are, what a partnership looks like to them.

And does the Minister believe he would be ill-advised to make decisions based on the information and recommendations he should already have received in several reports on the performance of Oranga Tamariki? 

 My decision-making in this portfolio has been and will be informed by a range of sources.

As soon as I became the Minister I began a schedule of meetings with various officials, with stakeholders, with Māori – including some of Oranga Tamariki’s harshest critics – to help develop the Government’s priorities and aspirations for children, particularly tamariki Māori.

I’ve considered the various reports and reviews, our Government’s Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy and the feedback from iwi and Māori.

The Waitangi Tribunal is also currently assessing whether the Ministry’s legislation, policies and practices are consistent with te Tiriti o Waitangi, and I will be listening intently to the Tribunal.

Outside of formal reporting and data, what is also needed is real time information about Oranga Tamariki and its progress, operations and performance, and certainty that its future direction is understood and becoming entrenched – this is what the Advisory Board will help provide.

Merepeka Raukawa-Tait, Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency Chair, is among those who might want greater separatism in the restructuring of the state system for protecting and caring for children.

She said she wants Oranga Tamariki chief executive Grainne Moss’ decision to resign to be the catalyst for Māori leadership of an organisation in which seven of every 10 children are Māori.

Diversity was not part of her prescription for improvement:

“It’s a big organisation, but Pākehā don’t have the cultural competency, they don’t have the networks. I honestly don’t believe they have the long-term interest in the safety of the children,” Raukawa-Tait told The AM Show on Monday morning.

“This is our time to step up and do what we have to do. We would’ve done that long ago given the opportunity, but it’s always been the Government – and particularly Pākehā – saying ‘we know what’s best for you’. We’re saying, right now, ‘hands off our tamariki – no more’.

“It really is about the solutions by Māori, for Māori, with Māori as soon as possible.”

Davis’s all-Maori team might not be enough to mollify all Maori leaders who have been railing against Oranga Tamariki’s management and operational practices.  The Opposition seems to be indifferent.

When asked this morning, a National press officer said no statements had been issued on the matter.