Oh, look – we can’t find any mention of “ISIS” in PM’s press statement on bringing woman and her children back from Turkey

The Turks don’t want her, after she crossed the border into that country from Syria.

The Aussies don’t want her, even though her family moved to Australia when she was six and she grew up there before departing for Syria in 2014 on an Australian passport. They cancelled her citizenship.

But she had dual citizenship and – we are told – New Zealand is unable to remove citizenship from a person and leave them stateless.

Unable?  Or morally disinclined to leave them stateless?

And would a government less committed to wellbeing and kindliness make the same decision?

Never mind.  In the upshot, the decision has been made and the woman and her family will be coming to live in this country.

Should we be worried?

The word “ISIS” did not appear in the PM’s press statement,  which was blandly headed Cabinet accepts Turkish authorities’ request for the managed return of three NZ citizens.

Nor was the woman named.   Continue reading “Oh, look – we can’t find any mention of “ISIS” in PM’s press statement on bringing woman and her children back from Turkey”

While we wonder who Poto Williams represents, let’s muse on why Greg O’Connor missed out on the Police post

Newstalk ZB broadcaster Mike Yardley, writing about his recent interview with Police Minister Poto Williams,  said he had been keen to learn why she was so dead against Armed Response Teams.

Good question.

But some of Williams’ replies during the interview raised another issue:   who does the Member for Christchurch East represent?

We emailed that question to her office last Wednesday.  We have yet to receive a reply.

In the Newstalk ZB interview, Yardley put it to Williams that – along with the Police Commissioner – she was placing far too much stock on the woke radical pressure groups who purport to represent the public pulse on policing issues.

He mentioned lobby groups such as Just Speak, Action Station and People Against Prisons Aotearoa, describing them as

“… a bit like the cycling lobby, highly organised, highly adept at capturing councils, flooding them with submissions, and courting favour.”

Yardley reckons these groups are driving the anti-cop agenda and fuelling the hostility to armed police. Continue reading “While we wonder who Poto Williams represents, let’s muse on why Greg O’Connor missed out on the Police post”

Not all workers will benefit from new sick leave entitlements – and only some projects are favoured with Jobs for Nature funding

Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Wood is braying about new labour legislation “bringing benefits to both businesses and employees” and “delivering on a key manifesto commitment to help Kiwis and workplaces stay healthy”.

Actually, employers are doing the delivering.  If they don’t deliver, it is fair to suppose, they risk being prosecuted for breaking the law which – from today – doubles minimum sick leave entitlements from five to 10 days.

Mind you, as Wood, points out, employers benefit too:

“Having a healthy and well-rested workforce also helps businesses. Studies have suggested that people working while sick are 20 per cent less productive and the healthiest workers are up to three times more productive.”

On the other hand, not all workers will benefit.  Sick leave is available ONLY after six months of continuous employment.

Similarly, not everyone stands to benefit from the government funding provided under the Jobs for Nature programme.

Conservation Minister Kiri Allen has announced $14.9 million Jobs for Nature funding is being invested in “several projects” which “will create much-needed jobs and financial security for families in TeTairāwhiti”.

Four projects, actually, and each of them is being led by local tribes. This suggests race was a significant factor in determining who got money and who didn’t. Continue reading “Not all workers will benefit from new sick leave entitlements – and only some projects are favoured with Jobs for Nature funding”

It’s just the thing for reducing our leftovers and slops – a trough which has provided almost $1.6m for food waste and composting

The Government has announced funding aimed at reducing food waste, which – according to the United Nations Environment Programme’s 2021 Food Waste Index – is well on the way to becoming a billion-tonne problem around the globe.

In this country, we have a Love Food Hate Waste campaign run by Councils nationwide.  Its activities are  based on research that included surveying 1,365 New Zealanders, examining the contents of 1,402 household rubbish bins and giving 100 families diaries to record food disposal for a week.

Among the findings:

  • Kiwis spend an estimated $872 million a year on food that is thrown away uneaten.
  • We dump over 122,547 tonnes of food a year – enough to feed around 262,917 people.
  • The average household sends around 79 kilograms of edible food to landfills every year.

The UN environment agency’s 2021 Food Waste Index  found an estimated 931 million tonnes of food around the globe ends up in the trash every year.

Most of that figure, 569 million tonnes, falls under the category of household waste.  The food service and retail sectors account for a further 244 and 118 million tonnes, respectively. Continue reading “It’s just the thing for reducing our leftovers and slops – a trough which has provided almost $1.6m for food waste and composting”

Arming the police: Police Minister’s explanation about her stance triggers questions about representation

It has been a quiet week in The Beehive, since the Minister Responsible for the Government Communications Security Bureau Andrew Little expressed New Zealand’s condemnation of malicious cyber activity by “Chinese state-sponsored actors”.

Ominously quiet.

What are they hatching now (we wonder) and when will they announce it?

Mind you, when we say it has been a quiet week in The Beehive, we don’t mean Ministers have been quiet.

Speaking as Minister of Police (for example), Poto Williams said she will not be backing down on her strong stance not to support the general arming of police because the Māori and Pacific Island communities she represents do not want it.

We kid you not.

And there we were thinking she was the MP for Christchurch East, a community of many ethnicities.

The graph we found on Parliament’s website suggests Maori and Pacific Islanders comprise a minority in the electorate and the substantial numbers of “European” residents comprise a bigger percentage of the total population (around 70,000 people) than they do nation-wide.

Source: Parliamentary Library using data from Stats NZ

Continue reading “Arming the police: Police Minister’s explanation about her stance triggers questions about representation”

Brace yourself for the peddling of propaganda and try to relish the experience (because you have paid for it with your taxes)

We weren’t surprised, at Point of Order, to see the scant media attention paid to a statement issued yesterday by ACT leader David Seymour.  

Headed  Government’s questionable media funding, the statement notes how the Government

“… is extending its tentacles into nearly every area of media with an offer too good to refuse for each outlet, and it has rapidly reached absurdity with taxpayer money spent on journalism to check on Government expenditure of taxpayer money”.

The statement was triggered by the announcement of the first tranche of the government’s $55 million Public Interest Journalism Fund.

As RNZ’s Mediawatch reported,  Māori journalism projects and a new training initiative are the major beneficiaries of the first $10m, but some of the money goes to things already funded from the public purse.

Mediawatch further noted

“… this is the biggest single public investment in journalism for decades and takes the total annual spend on media to over $300m. (There’s another $20m up his sleeve if Cabinet thinks the media need that too.)  

“Media companies big and small, local and national, public and private alike can all apply to the fund – including those which have never had public money before.”

Oh – but let’s not forget the need for recipients of this lolly to push a highly political ideological barrow:

Guidelines issued in April also said the fund ‘must actively promote the principles of Partnership, Participation and Active Protection under Te Tiriti o Waitangi’.”  Continue reading “Brace yourself for the peddling of propaganda and try to relish the experience (because you have paid for it with your taxes)”

While Hipkins gets more vaccine for war on Covid-19, Little fires verbal shots to stem cyber attacks (but China is riled by “smear”)

The government was battling on several fronts yesterday, just a few weeks after Defence Minister Peeni Henare acknowledged a $20 billion spend-up on defence had become a casualty of budgetary measures to deal with Covid-19 and its consequences.

The Defence budget was now much tighter, and defence would look different under Labour than it did under its coalition with New Zealand First, he said.

No matter.  A well-armed defence force is not all we require to keep us safe, keep our enemies at bay, or fight the wars the government wants to wage.

The Department of Conservation’s war is against predators and Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says the government is throwing $4 million into a project aimed at eradicating predators from the three main peninsulas in the Bay of Islands.

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins, in the vanguard of the war against the pandemic, has been freshly supplied to fortify our defences against Covid-19.  The largest shipment of the Pfizer vaccine to date has arrived in New Zealand two days ahead of schedule.

Doses are being delivered to vaccination centres around the country.

On the diplomatic front, Phil Twyford, our Minister of Disarmament and Arms Control, addressed a bunch of diplomats to spell out the government’s position on disarmament and weapons control.

Success with this policy – the disarming of all foes and potential foes and a global declaration of a commitment to eternal world peace- obviously would enable the government to cut its Defence budget back to zero.

But as we learned from Andrew Little, Minister Responsible for the Government Communications Security Bureau, we have more to worry about than the firepower other countries might bring to bear against us. Continue reading “While Hipkins gets more vaccine for war on Covid-19, Little fires verbal shots to stem cyber attacks (but China is riled by “smear”)”

Govt to contribute $600,000 to recovery from weekend storms in South Island – Pacific businesses will be given $2 million

On the home front, the Government has pitched in $600,000 to help the recovery  for people affected by the weekend’s violent weather and welcomed the New Zealand Nurses Organisation’s decision to take the Government’s improved pay offer to members and to lift strike notices.

Internationally, the PM has had a chat with President Biden and chaired an APEC leaders’ meeting on Covid-19 and conference.

And her government is providing $2 million (more than has been committed so far for the relief of weekend weather victims) to help Pacific businesses.

At the weekend we expanded on the PM’s chat with Biden (see HERE).

Now, at Point of Order,  we are braced for this week’s news from the Beehive. Continue reading “Govt to contribute $600,000 to recovery from weekend storms in South Island – Pacific businesses will be given $2 million”

First came the $2.5bn water package (or bribe?) and then the govt gets behind mayors on employment task force

The government is getting in behind local government leaders, not only to win hearts and minds on the Three Waters reform programme but also in  encouraging job schemes.

Yesterday it announced a $2.5 billion package (critics call it a bribe) to support local government transition through the reforms to New Zealand’s drinking water, wastewater and stormwater services.  Point of Order has looked at this here.

Today the government has signed a new memorandum of understanding with the Mayors Taskforce for Jobs, intended to strengthen the partnership to get more young people into work.

Tourism Minister Stuart Nash meanwhile was announcing that five South Island areas have been prioritised in the latest round of decisions from a tourism fund that is supporting infrastructure projects from Cape Reinga to Stewart Island and the Chathams.

Details of 57 nationwide projects to receive support from the fund  have been released.

Nash explained that the Tourism Infrastructure Fund supports local communities under pressure from tourism, especially those with small ratepayer bases Continue reading “First came the $2.5bn water package (or bribe?) and then the govt gets behind mayors on employment task force”

How Ngai Tahu will be flush with governance powers under water reforms – but not in all parts of the South Island

Journalists hastened to work out what’s up for grabs in various bits of the country after the PM announced a $2.5 billion package for New Zealand’s 67 councils, if they opted in to the government’s water reforms.

This (we were reminded) follows $761m being given to councils for water infrastructure upgrades in July last year.

The media didn’t devote too much energy to examining how and/or why the boundary lines will be fixed when the responsibility for drinking water, wastewater, and storm water infrastructure is shifted from councils to four regional entities or the governance implications of having Three Waters boundaries aligned with tribal boundaries.

For example (as you will find towards the end of this Stuff report):

Under the proposed water reforms, Blenheim and Richmond could be lumped in with a largely North Island water entity covering from Wellington to Gisborne, while Seddon and Murchison could be tied in with the rest of the South Island.

Six elected members would represent 21 South Island councils in an arms-length governance role. Up to six others would have a governance role to represent mana whenua.

This regional entity would  cover the majority of the South Island except for parts of Marlborough, Tasman and Nelson.

Cabinet papers showed Marlborough and Tasman could be split between two water entities to align with iwi boundaries.

Like most of the South Island, Seddon and Murchison were part of Ngāi Tahu’s takiwā (territory), so had been added to Entity ‘D’ with other cities in the takiwā, such as Christchurch.

The rest of Marlborough and Tasman had been included in Entity ‘C’, along with Nelson, Wellington, Havelock North, Hawke’s Bay and Gisborne.

This suggests Ngai Tahu won’t get a governance grip on the whole of the South Island’s water-system infrastructure and its management,

It will do nicely, thank you, nevertheless.

These details call for an adjustment of the numbers in a press statement from Hobson’s Choice a few weeks ago (which news media did not publish and which Scoop and Voxy did not post):

  • One lot of co-governors would represent Ngai Tahu, a tribal business entity that claims the affiliation of 68,000 people,
  • The other lot would represent 23 councils which “may represent 750,000 people”.

Point of Order suggested another measure of the governance power being given without a blush or much explanation to southern Maori – bring 2018 census figures into the reckoning.  These show Maori comprise 110,301 (10%) of a total South Island population of 1,104,531.

While Stuff (and other media) have shied from too closely examining or explaining the muscle Maori tribes might flex under Three Waters governance arrangements, it does say some elected members from both the city and rural districts have raised concerns about the lack of control locals would have over the proposed new South Island entity.

Auckland mayor Phil Goff’s objections fundamentally are matters of ownership, control, governance and accountability.

Another critical question for ratepayers is the extent to which hefty rates increases being considered by several councils – largely to pay for neglected water-system infrastructure – can be modified.

Ardern said $500m of the package – which National Party leader Judith Collins and others called a bribe to buy compliance from local governments – would directly help councils during the transition phase of the reforms. The rest would ensure councils were better off financially once water infrastructure was taken off their books.

Savings to ratepayers are a critical consideration in favour of the reforms.  Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta says these would amount to thousands of dollars a year and ensure the estimated $120 to $185 billion in investment needed in water services over the next 30 years goes ahead.

According to news reports Point of Order checked this morning –

  • Christchurch has been offered $122.4 million from the $2bn fund while Selwyn and Waimakariri councils would get $22m each.

But Christchurch councillor Sam MacDonald said $122m was “pretty cheeky” when the council would hand over billions of water assets in the reforms.

  • Marlborough, Nelson and Tasman councils have been offered a combined $66.2 million.
  • Auckland Council would receive almost $509 million under the proposal.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff remains unconvinced. He said:

“The issue at stake here is about responsiveness and accountability to the people of Auckland through their elected representatives,” he said.

“We have real concerns about the governance structure proposed by the Government, which would remove mechanisms currently in place to ensure that Watercare is accountable to Aucklanders.”

Goff insists the council should be able to determine board directors and the strategic direction of the new water authority through a statement of intent.

He reportedly said the Government’s model would effectively remove Auckland Council’s control and influence over about 28 per cent of Auckland’s assets and 25 per cent of its expenditure.

“This risks creating a new water entity that is unresponsive to the communities it serves, and removes our ability to ensure that Aucklanders’ needs are put first,” Goff said.

But the PM says overhauling our drinking, waste and stormwater services will benefit all New Zealand communities, no matter where they are in the country.