Kelvin Davis appoints a team of four (with no places for Pakeha) to advise him on Orangi Tamariki and child welfare

After a raft of inquiries delving into and recommending what should be done about the politically beleaguered Orangi Tamariki, along with the briefing papers we suppose he has been given, we imagined Children’s Minister Kelvin Davis would have no more need for expert advice.    

Wrong.  He has just appointed “a skilled and experienced group of people” as the newly established Oranga Tamariki Ministerial Advisory Board.

The group (an  all-Maori team) will begin work on 1 February and Davis expects an initial report (to add to the advice provided by the other reports) by 30 June.  

The board’s appointment was one of three fresh announcements from the Beehive.

The others were 

  • Work begins today at Wainuiomata High School to ensure buildings and teaching spaces are fit for purpose; and 
  • The green light for New Zealand’s first COVID-19 vaccine could be granted in just over a week.  

Continue reading “Kelvin Davis appoints a team of four (with no places for Pakeha) to advise him on Orangi Tamariki and child welfare”

The political payoff is plain but is it smart to borrow $219,512 per job (mostly temporary) to spruce up the Murihiku Marae?

The Point of Order Trough Monitor was triggered today by the announcement of a $9 million handout for Southlanders – sorry, some Southlanders.

The news came from the office of Grant Robertson who, as Minister of Finance, prefers to invest public money rather than give it away – especially when it is borrowed money which taxpayers eventually will be called on to repay.

Accordingly, wearing his “Infrastructure Minister” hat and in the company of Te Tai Tonga MP Rino Tirikatane, Robertson announced the Government is investing $9 million “to upgrade a significant community facility in Invercargill, creating economic stimulus and jobs”.

The only other news from the Beehive came from ACC Minister Carmel Sepuloni, who announced the appointments of three new members to join the Board of ACC on 1 February.

“All three bring diverse skills and experience to provide strong governance oversight to lead the direction of ACC” said Hon Carmel Sepuloni.

Of course they do. Continue reading “The political payoff is plain but is it smart to borrow $219,512 per job (mostly temporary) to spruce up the Murihiku Marae?”

Twyford has something to celebrate, but the hard yards were put in on disarmament long before he was given the portfolio

It’s great to hear Phil Twyford celebrating a success.  Not a personal ministerial success, it’s fair to say, but a success nevertheless related to arms control.

The arms on which Twyford is focused,  it should be noted, will make quite a mess if they are triggered.  They tend to be nuclear ones.

Police Minister Poto Williams is similarly focused on arms control.

The arms in this case are not in the same big-bang league as those embraced by Twyford’s portfolio, but their potential to kill is plain enough and inevitably they became a political issue in the aftermath of the mosque massacre in Christchurch last year.

Williams yesterday announced the next steps in the Government’s firearms reform programme, a three-month amnesty aims to remove further firearms and arms items that were prohibited and restricted through the Arms Legislation Act 2020.

The Government has allocated $15.5 million for compensation and administrative costs.

Among other new announcements – Continue reading “Twyford has something to celebrate, but the hard yards were put in on disarmament long before he was given the portfolio”

The PM congratulates a bloke who (if he turned to blogging) would fail Micky Savage’s age test

Two of three ministerial statements from the Beehive have been released in the name of the PM over the past two days. 

The more important, insofar as it involves political action that will affect the wellbeing of significant numbers of Kiwis, was the release of the government’s Public Housing Plan 2021-2024, which outlines the intention of where 8,000 additional public and transitional housing places announced in Budget 2020 will go.

This was jointly released by Jacinda Ardern and Housing Minister Megan Woods, who says the need for public housing for the most vulnerable members of our communities continues to grow.  Demand is outstripping supply, in other words, which calls for a strong critical focus on  the government’s policies to reverse this trend.  

But at Point of Order we were drawn first to the PM’s second statement, which records her congratulation of a white bloke of our vintage who has just been given a challenging new job.

We were especially heartened by the PM’s remarks because white blokes of our vintage are apt to be disparaged nowadays. Continue reading “The PM congratulates a bloke who (if he turned to blogging) would fail Micky Savage’s age test”

Covid-19 border defences: pre-departure testing is extended (except for passengers from some countries)

The Point of Order Ministers on a Mission Monitor has flickered only fleetingly for much of the month.  More than once, the minister to trigger it has been David Parker, who set it off again yesterday with an announcement that shows how he has been spending our money.

He welcomed the first intake of cadets at the launch of the Bay Conservation Cadets – Tauira Mahi programme in Tauranga, a project supported by a grant of $3.5 million.  It is part of the Government’s Jobs for Nature scheme launched in the 2020 Budget to boost employment, protect and enhance the environment while accelerating the recovery from the impact of COVID-19.

Speaking of the virus, it’s the job of COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins to deal with the threat of a new strain sneaking through our protective defences.  And today he has announced the Government is extending pre-departure testing to all passengers to New Zealand except from Australia, Antarctica and most Pacific Islands.

The change will come into force for all flights arriving in New Zealand after 11:59pm (NZT) on Monday 25 January. Continue reading “Covid-19 border defences: pre-departure testing is extended (except for passengers from some countries)”

He’s bellicose, vulgar and – what else? – oh, yes, he won’t be attending the inauguration of Joe Biden

Donald Trump’s awful presidency expires at midday on Wednesday [US time] when Air Force One will have deposited him in Florida. He retreats to his Mar-a-Lago resort and Joseph R Biden Junior takes command of the White House.

Trump’s has been an unpleasant presidency, brought about largely by his own bellicosity, vulgarity and occupation of a different universe while being unable or unwilling to accept advice from all but a rapidly dwindling circle of friends and advisers.

From Day One he argued he would be defeated at the next election only by a rigged ballot with fraudulent voting.  This has been a constant from his swearing-in to his departure – and secured the support of at least 60% of Republican voters.

By last Friday, the White House was nearly empty.  This week only the ghosts and a couple of stalwarts remain. Continue reading “He’s bellicose, vulgar and – what else? – oh, yes, he won’t be attending the inauguration of Joe Biden”

Parker should brace for lobbying from guardians of the swamp after housing project is given fast-track panel’s approval

The Point of Order Ministerial Workload Watchdog and our ever-vigilant Trough Monitor were both triggered yesterday by an item of news from the office of Conservation Minister Kititapu Allan.

The minister was drawing attention to new opportunities to dip into the Jobs for Nature programme (and her statement was the only sign of life in the Beehive, for those who use such statements as a measure of ministerial activity, since last we reported).

Funding of $34 million is being made available to conservation groups and landowners to employ staff and contractors in a move aimed at boosting local biodiversity-focused projects.

Allan made the announcement at Waikanae, about an hour’s drive up the Kapiti coast from her ministerial office.   During the drive from Wellington – or did she take the train? – she would have passed a wetland known as the Taupo Swamp.

On the other side of the highway from the swamp,  between Plimmerton and Pukerua Bay, is a block of farmland.

The Dominion-Post would have informed Allen yesterday (if she did not already know) that this farmland is the intended site for the Plimmerton Farm development which aims to house as many as 2000 new homes.  The project – more likely to be environmentally harmful than beneficial to the swamp – has been given the approval of an independent panel. Continue reading “Parker should brace for lobbying from guardians of the swamp after housing project is given fast-track panel’s approval”

Seymour is saying the most as the pollies thrust and parry on the pros and cons of Covid policies

The tightening of the border to keep new strains of Covid-19 at bay and demands to hasten the Covid-19 vaccination programme have dominated political debate – at least insofar as press statements provide a measure – in recent days.

Opposition parties have been much busier than the government – or have made much more noise – by releasing several statements on Covid-19 issues since Sunday.

But one of those, posted on both the Scoop and Voxy websites on 11 January in the name of National’s Chris Bishop, perhaps should be discounted because it is a repetition of a statement he released on December 28:

“The announcement today that from early next year all returnees from the UK and US will require pre-departure testing is a sound decision and one that the National Party has been calling for since August when we proposed a Border Protection Agency, National’s Covid-19 Recovery spokesperson Chris Bishop.

This would have made more sense late last year but not early this year, because “early next year” now refers to early 2022.  Moreover, Point of Order could find no government announcement about returnees from the UK and US on January 11 to trigger Bishop’s remarks. Continue reading “Seymour is saying the most as the pollies thrust and parry on the pros and cons of Covid policies”

Big Business pulls the plug on donations to Republicans who bridled at Briden

Follow the money, urged a character in the film All the President’s Men on the Watergate saga – it’s advice well worth heeding today, a week from the inauguration of President Joe Biden.

Several major US companies, including Amazon, AT&T, Comcast, Airbnb, Mastercard, Verizon and Dow, the chemical company. Marriott, Blue Cross Blue Shield and Commerce Bancshares, have announced the suspension of donations to Republican members of Congress who voted against the certification of Biden as president at last week’s catastrophic sitting of both houses of the US Congress.

Hallmark has even asked for its money back from two of the senators who opposed certification, Josh Hawley and Roger Marshall.

In the Senate, the temporary ban on donations will also affect Rick Scott of Florida, Ted Cruz of Texas and a few other members. In the House, the group includes more than half of the Republican caucus.

The National Association of Manufacturers also weighed in on the issue. Republicans who “cheered on” Trump during his “disgusting” effort to overturn the election had “inflamed violent anger. This is sedition and should be treated as such,” the association said. Continue reading “Big Business pulls the plug on donations to Republicans who bridled at Briden”

Trump is silenced (on social media at least) but may be impeached in the dying days of his presidency

The wheels are fast falling off the presidency of Donald J Trump as the FBI, various police forces, US intelligence agencies and now the political parties consider his fate.  The more agencies inquire into the conduct, motives and organisation of the rioters who stormed the Capitol last week, the more disturbing elements appear.

There are two political debates under way: whether Trump should be impeached (a majority of the Lower House thinks this is the way to go) and/or whether the 25th amendment to the US Constitution should be invoked and Trump be removed.

On Friday House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a target for the rioters, called Trump unbalanced and unhinged. She called the chairman of the joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, to ensure the nuclear codes were in good, sane hands.

Impeachment could begin as soon as today. The question is whether it should immediately be passed and sent to the Senate to conduct a trial – or whether to delay. Continue reading “Trump is silenced (on social media at least) but may be impeached in the dying days of his presidency”