Oops – our climate change emissions have risen (at the last count) but we are leading the way with financial reporting legislation

Whoopee – another first for our nation.  According to the headline on a Beehive press statement, NZ becomes first in world for climate reporting.

This drew attention to the announcement that New Zealand has become the first country in the world to introduce a law that requires the financial sector to disclose the impacts of climate change on their business and explain how they will manage climate-related risks and opportunities.

Not so praiseworthy, the latest annual inventory of New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions shows that both gross and net emissions increased by 2 percent in the 12 months from the end of 2018.

This prompted an exhortation from Climate Change Minister James Shaw that we must strive to do better.

Those two statements emerged from The Beehive along with news that – Continue reading “Oops – our climate change emissions have risen (at the last count) but we are leading the way with financial reporting legislation”

Psst! The whispers among diplomats in the capital draw attention to shortcomings on NZ’s foreign-policy front

Does New Zealand have a contemporary foreign policy, let alone a defence policy? Some of our nearest and dearest are beginning to wonder.

Ambassadors in Wellington are among the world’s most discreet but word is beginning to trickle out.

What is the government up to?  Why does it move at glacial speed on foreign-policy issues when there is plenty of energy – evidently – for social policy issues and the improvement of Kiwis’ wellbeing?

Oh – and when will ministers travel again? A senior official left for an overseas visit last week and our contacts in Wellington tell us it was treated almost as though he was making the first flight to the moon.

Going away from NZ? What about the Covid-19 risks, how will quarantine be managed once home?  What of the risk that he might bring Covid back with him?

We are taking only a little levity here but there is a developing opinion that the Ardern government doesn’t have its act together. Continue reading “Psst! The whispers among diplomats in the capital draw attention to shortcomings on NZ’s foreign-policy front”

We should brace for the boiler ban – but $22.88m has been handed out to help businesses decarbonise

Our Beehive bulletin

The Government’s ban on new low and medium temperature coal-fired boilers and partnering with the private sector to help it transition away from fossil fuels perhaps ranked as the most important Beehive announcement yesterday.

It was the first major announcement to follow the release of the Climate Commission’s draft package of advice to Government in February and was accompanied by the distribution of dollops of corporate welfare to  the successful applicants in round one of the Government Investment in Decarbonising Industry Fund.

Fourteen companies will receive $22.88m in co-funding to help their businesses transition away from fossil fuels.

The ban on new coal boilers used in manufacturing and production will come into effect by 31 December.

A consultation document for other coal proposals can be found on the Ministry for the Environment website.

The energy announcement was one of several to emerge during a busy day in the Beehive, many of them enabling Ministers to bray about the big bucks (or small ones) they were throwing around. Continue reading “We should brace for the boiler ban – but $22.88m has been handed out to help businesses decarbonise”

Govt invests our money on aerospace studies and on boosting the food and fibre sector

Our Beehive bulletin

Boosts for the food and fibre sector, one of the country’s oldest industries and a major export earner, and the fledgling aerospace industry were announced yesterday.

Megan Woods put her Housing duties aside to enthuse about a development in her research, science and innovation portfolio and the potential for New Zealand to lead joint space missions.

Twelve New Zealand organisations have been chosen to work with world-leading experts at the German Aerospace Centre (DLR) to complete feasibility studies related to propulsion, space communications and remote sensing technologies.

Government spending of about $900,000 is mentioned about two-thirds of the way down the press statement.

Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor announced the Government is backing more initiatives to boost NZ’s food and fibre sector workforce, including spending of up to $240,000 on an on-the-job mentoring programme. Continue reading “Govt invests our money on aerospace studies and on boosting the food and fibre sector”

Besides creating a travel bubble, the govt was heaping more parental costs on taxpayers and easing the rates burden on Maori land

Our Beehive bulletin

The mainstream media – after eagerly awaiting the announcement – have made much of the news that quarantine-free travel between New Zealand and Australia will start on April 19.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins made the announcement, confirming that conditions for starting to open up quarantine free travel with Australia have been met.

The Dominion-Post gave it front-page treatment today but Point of Order  staff are sifting through its columns to find reports of Parliamentary action on other fronts, including the passage of legislation to give effect to another Treaty settlement that corrodes the country’s democracy with a new co-governance arrangement.

The “Treaty partnership” (a modern-day construct of judges and politicians that divides the country into Maori and non-Maori) was invoked in some of the day’s ministerial statements.

The announcements include –  Continue reading “Besides creating a travel bubble, the govt was heaping more parental costs on taxpayers and easing the rates burden on Maori land”

Three Ministers to pick up extra duties while Kiri Allan is treated for cancer

Marama Davidson – we note – is not one of three Ministers who will take care of Kiri Allan’s portfolios while the well regarded Labour politician takes leave of absence to be treated for  cancer.

Pity. Being given one of the three acting positions might have enabled Davidson to issue more press statements, lifting the number from the grand total of four in her name on the Beehive website. 

Kiri Allan, the Minister of Conservation and Emergency Management and Associate Minister for Arts and Culture, has issued four statements since March 21.  Her tally since she became a minister after the 2020 general election is 30.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today Allan is taking a leave of absence while she undergoes medical treatment for cervical cancer.

The only other statement on the Beehive website this morning was from Police Minister Poto William, who announced the members of the Ministers Arms Advisory Group, established to ensure balanced advice to Government on firearms that is independent of Police. Continue reading “Three Ministers to pick up extra duties while Kiri Allan is treated for cancer”

Kiwi trial for Cora – electric aircraft to undergo flight testing in NZ

A US company plans to test-fly Cora, its two-passenger all-electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft, in New Zealand working closely with the Civil Aviation Authority and the NZ Airways Corporation.  Wisk is moving forward with its plans, integrating Boeing subsidiary Inset Pacific Pty Ltd, an unmanned aerial systems developer into the programme.

A statement from Anna Kominik, Asia Pacific director for Wisk says NZ

“ … presents a unique opportunity and we are immensely proud to have been recognised by the New Zealand Government as the first airspace integration industry partner. New Zealand’s focus on decarbonising its economy as part of the electric transport evolution directly aligns with Wisk’s mission to deliver safe, everyday flight for everyone through effective, accessible and sustainable urban air mobility solutions.”

The transport trial is part of the government’s Airspace Integration Trial Program (AITP) to test and demonstrate the integration of unmanned aircraft into airspace. Wisk will be performing flight testing, simulation work and data analysis alongside multiple government agencies and New Zealand’s Airways Corporation, a representative from the company told Avionics International.

Gary Gysin, CEO of Wisk, says the company has always seen the distinct advantages of NZ, including the country’s globally respected Civil Aviation Authority and flexibility for Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS).

“These factors, combined with the advantages of testing and operating in a relatively un-congested airspace and the innovative culture of early adoption, makes New Zealand uniquely positioned as a leader for autonomous unmanned aircraft integration trials.”

The first phase of the Transport Trial will focus on collecting and understanding data to support integrating these aircraft into the airspace system, according to the representative.

The aim of the trial is to safely evaluate, test and demonstrate the integration of unmanned aircraft into existing airspace. The goal is to provide robust data that can be used by governments, air traffic control authorities and civil aviation authorities to advance standards globally.

It has an experimental airworthiness certificate from the NZ Civil Aviation Authority and the US Federal Aviation Administration. Several designs have been developed but the company but will not say which would be used in NZ.

The Transport Trial’s goal is to advance autonomous passenger transport in NZ along with cargo delivery, agricultural services and hazard management and monitoring services.

A prisoner’s lot will soon be a better one (in Waikeria, anyway) in partnership with local iwi

Our Beehive bulletin

So what has Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis been up to during the Easter holiday?

Among other things, we learn today, he has  gone to prison.

Waikeria, to be specific, to check on progress on a prison development which will boost mental health services and improve rehabilitation opportunities for the people banged up inside.

The statement drawing attention to what Davis has been doing was posted on the Beehive website along with news that –

  • The Government is expanding its Pregnancy and Parenting Programme, which tailors services to women who are pregnant, or with children aged under three, who experience issues with substance abuse, “and who are not well connected to health and social services”.
  • Temporary COVID-19 immigration powers will be extended to May 2023, providing “continued flexibility to support migrants, manage the border, and help industries facing labour shortages”.
  • An Independent Expert Panel on Drug Driving has proposed criminal limits and blood infringement thresholds for 25 impairing drugs to reduce the trauma of road crashes caused by drug impaired drivers.

Continue reading “A prisoner’s lot will soon be a better one (in Waikeria, anyway) in partnership with local iwi”

Thinking big – Biden’s spending programme signals shift in thinking about role of the state in the economy

Here’s a Think Big project of which even Rob Muldoon would have been proud.  US President Joe Biden has launched a $US2.3 trillion infrastructure plan designed to fix roads and bridges, replace pipes, expand broadband internet access and boost funding for research and development.

Might we need something similar here rather than tinkering with light rail and broadcasting?

The infrastructure plans would water the eyes of an old Minister of Works. There’s $US621 billion to modernise transportation infrastructure, for starters.  But then there’s $US400 billion to help care for the aging and those with disabilities, $US300 billion to boost the manufacturing industry, $US213 billion on retrofitting and building affordable housing and $US100 billion to expand broadband access, among other investments

There are plans to modernise 20,000 miles of roadway, build 500,000 electric-vehicle charging stations, replace the country’s existing lead pipes and service lines, repair aging schools, fix the ten most economically significant bridges in the country in need of reconstruction, repair the worst 10,000 smaller bridges, and provide critical linkages to communities.  And plans to replace thousands of buses and rail cars, repair hundreds of stations, renew airports, and expand transit and rail into new communities.

Home care for the elderly and disabled will be expanded. Billions of dollars will go into semi-conductor manufacturing. More of the country’s electricity will be generated from low-carbon sources, with a goal of eliminating carbon emissions from the power grid by 2035. Continue reading “Thinking big – Biden’s spending programme signals shift in thinking about role of the state in the economy”

Take the heat off Megan Woods, folks – we must all pitch in and help nail (or fund) a resolution to the housing crisis

Housing Minister Megan Woods perhaps hopes to take the political heat off herself and the government on the matter of the shortage of houses, rampant real estate prices and soaring rents.

She acknowledges there is a crisis.   And – in a speech to the Palmerston North Housing Forum 2021 -she said it’s up to all of us to fix it.

The speech was among several items posted on the Beehive website since Point of Order last monitored what Ministers of the Crown are doing and how they are spending our money.

Further north, Maori Development Minister Willie Jackson was demonstrating that the housing crisis has been resolved for six families in Pāpāmoa, in the Bay of Plenty.

And his press statement reminds us that, if we are paying taxes, we already are doing our bit.

We are funding a raft of government programmes, several of them tailored to help people based on their ethnicity. Continue reading “Take the heat off Megan Woods, folks – we must all pitch in and help nail (or fund) a resolution to the housing crisis”