Jones (carrying our money) has gone south to enthuse about a rail investment and to seed more tree planting

Moneybags Minister Shane Jones has gone south to dish out more money for tree planting in Canterbury after visiting Greymouth to give an accounting of the goodies being generated by money invested on the West Coast. Southlanders will be blessed with the Munificent Marvel’s presence tomorrow.

West Coasters might have been disappointed that he essentially did no more than bandy numbers to justify the wisdom of a Provincial Growth Fund investment in TransAlpine, announced last November.

You could say he has been counting their blessings and visited Greymouth to let the locals know the good news.

But hey – it’s just over a fortnight since he visited the West Coast as Minister of Forestry to announce more than 70,000 native trees are to be planted over the next three years to help restore the Waimea Inlet.

More than $1 million was committed to the project, the money coming from the $240m grants and partnership fund as part of the Government’s One Billion Trees programme.

Jones was wearing his Forestry hat when he travelled to Canterbury (did he go by train?) to provide support for  native planting and restoration projects from the One Billion Trees Fund.

Here’s what we learn from the Point of Order Trough MonitorContinue reading “Jones (carrying our money) has gone south to enthuse about a rail investment and to seed more tree planting”

Crawford Falconer breaks his silence to say Brexit has given the UK something to say about trade

He has been virtually incognito since 2017 – but Britain’s chief trade negotiator, Crawford Falconer, has finally surfaced amidst the debris of the Brexit wars in London.

London’s Daily Telegraph quotes him as saying Brexit had actually been good for the UK because it had given it something to say on trade.

Falconer has been working on international trade issues for more than 30 years.

He was the New Zealand Government’s leading trade official and served as Ambassador to the WTO.

He also worked for several years at the OECD and the Institute of Policy Studies. Continue reading “Crawford Falconer breaks his silence to say Brexit has given the UK something to say about trade”

The Treaty is called on to be made relevant to whatever issue a government wants – this time, with plant varieties and IP

The remarkable elasticity of the Treaty of Waitangi is again being demonstrated in government proposals to insert a Treaty clause in the Plant Varieties Act.

Intellectual Property Office consultations on the issue wrap up on Wednesday.

An attempt to mollify Maori with a Treaty clause was portended in September last year when Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi released an issues paper for public consultation on New Zealand’s plant variety rights law, which regulates intellectual property protection over new plant varieties.

Faafoi released the paper while attending the Ngā Taonga Tuku Iho Conference, which provided a platform for attendees to lament it had been 25 years since the Mataatua Declaration (on the Cultural and Intellectual Property Rights of Indigenous Peoples) was developed.  It was 26 years since the WAI-262 Indigenous Flora and Fauna Waitangi Tribunal Claim was lodged and seven years since the Tribunal released its Ko Aotearoa Tēnei report on the claim. Continue reading “The Treaty is called on to be made relevant to whatever issue a government wants – this time, with plant varieties and IP”

Peters in the US: he can’t offer NZ ships (if asked) but maybe an Orion could be sent to the Gulf

South America a week ago;  this week it’s Washington DC.  Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters is on the move again, displaying  an indefatigable  energy level beyond many of his Cabinet colleagues.

In the US capital this week, he will address a major international conference called by the US on questions of inter-faith issues and problems.  He is expected to outline the government’s approach to inter-faith issues in the aftermath of the Christchurch mosque attacks which drew immense coverage in the US. Continue reading “Peters in the US: he can’t offer NZ ships (if asked) but maybe an Orion could be sent to the Gulf”

Goodies for Northland: the gravy train – and Shane – ride in again

Yesterday was Friday so Shane Jones and his bag(s) of goodies should have been in ….

Oh, yes.  Back on his home patch of Northland and (no surprise) he returned to distribute  money.

Meningitis was there, too, as a political rival , Whangarei MP Shane Reti, pointed out.

An agenda item for next week’s Northland District Health Board meeting confirms that there has been another case of Meningitis W in Northland, Reti said in a press statement. 

“This brings the total to two this year after a seven month old child contracted the disease earlier in the year. There were seven cases of Meningitis W in Northland last year and an outbreak was declared on 8 November, resulting in one death.”

Reti had “grave concerns” that meningitis would flare up again over winter.

He called for the Ministry of Health to release the thousands of unused meningitis vaccines “that are slowly expiring” and make them immediately available free of charge to all Northland children. Continue reading “Goodies for Northland: the gravy train – and Shane – ride in again”

Mangatu is “thriving” – but hey, Jones has got to invest our money somewhere so let’s give them a fillip anyway

Its businesses are “thriving”, according to the Mangatu Maori Incorporation website.

That was before Shane Jones’ arrival in the Gisborne region this week to distribute several million dollars of public money – among other recipients, to the thriving Mangatu Maori Incorporation.

He invited other Maori – sorry, he encouraged other Maori – to have a lick at the rich swill he is providing through the One Billion Trees Programme:

 ” … I am encouraging more Māori to come forward to partner with the Government through this initiative,” Shane Jones said.

The One Billion Trees Fund, launched in November 2018,  offers grants to landowners – particularly Māori and farmers – to encourage integration of trees into existing land use.

“It will create economic, social and environmental benefits and support Maori to realise the potential of their land.”

Having plenty of your own money should not be an impediment to applying, it seems.

The Mangatu incorporation’s website gives a measure of what “thriving” means.

The latest financial results we could find there were for the year to September 30 2017.

These show a net profit before tax of $13.9m (compared with $18.6m the previous year) and net assets of $193.6m (up from  $183m).
Continue reading “Mangatu is “thriving” – but hey, Jones has got to invest our money somewhere so let’s give them a fillip anyway”

Proposals to put the brakes on climate pollution run into a red light from Taxpayers’ Union

One lobby group spoke up on behalf of low-income people, when the government announced it is proposing to make electric, hybrid and fuel efficient vehicles more affordable.

Another – which speaks for car dealers – expressed a willingness to talk about the government’s plans.

Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter announced the policy, aimed at enabling families to “choose a vehicle that’s better for the climate and their back pocket”.

Presumably this will be done by calling on taxpayers to pick up a part of the tab.

Genter said the cars, utes and vans we use every day are also the fastest-growing source of harmful climate pollution and account for nearly 70 per cent of our transport emissions.  Continue reading “Proposals to put the brakes on climate pollution run into a red light from Taxpayers’ Union”