It is much too easy to win headlines – and then be treated leniently – for assaulting MPs

It’s rare for a politician in New Zealand to be mugged while out walking, broadcaster Barry Soper observed after Green Party co-leader James was assaulted in Wellington last week, although many had got into “skirmishes” when out doing their job.

The attack on Shaw prompted the PM to say New Zealanders should be proud of the access New Zealanders have to their politicians, whose job is to serve the people, but this assault showed they can’t take that for granted.

Soper recalled National’s Lockwood Smith once being forced to take a back door out of a university rather than face angry students as Education Minister.

But the last time a politician had been “supposedly attacked” while out walking was Keith Allen, a Minister in the Muldoon Government in 1983. Continue reading “It is much too easy to win headlines – and then be treated leniently – for assaulting MPs”

Robertson gets to announce some spending – $7m for capital works in his cultural constituency

The Point of Order Trough Monitor was triggered by Grant Robertson this week, although he had taken off his Finance hat (wearing this, he preaches fiscal constraint) and donned his Arts, Culture  and Heritage hat (to serve a constituency hungry for handouts).

The monitor is a bit of gadgetry installed in our editorial office to keep a check on how taxpayers’ money is being invested, spent or given away by the Ardern Government in its urge to improve the nation’s well-being. ,

Robertson was letting it be known he had topped up one of the troughs for which he is responsible and was inviting eligible oinkers to come and dip their snouts into it.

We were disappointed he did not demonstrate his prowess at hog calling from a balcony high up in the Beehive.  Rather, he issued a press statement headed Funding grants for regional cultural organisations open. Continue reading “Robertson gets to announce some spending – $7m for capital works in his cultural constituency”

All votes are equal on this regional council working group – but some are more equal than others

Here’s hoping the Greater Wellington Regional Council makes a better fist of restoring its eco-systems than it has done of overhauling its bus service.

But in establishing a consultative working group to develop the Wellington Regional Biodiversity Framework, it has brought curious ideas about “share” and “partnership” into considerations.

Clearly it has been infected by the same urge to foster co-governance that has swept through the country’s local authorities in recent years.

The working group will include three members who will cast TWO votes each, when it comes to electing the co-chairs.  The other 12 or so members will get one vote.

Any guesses about who might get two votes? Continue reading “All votes are equal on this regional council working group – but some are more equal than others”

‘Democracy’ rhetoric suggests Greens will oppose Ngai Tahu power grab – but let’s not count on it

The Green Party’s urge to strengthen our democracy through a Member’s Bill, the Electoral Strengthening Democracy Bill, should portend Green willingness to try to stall a Ngai Tahu power grab in Canterbury.  But don’t hold your breath.

Green electoral reform spokesperson Golriz Ghahraman, who is introducing the bill, said New Zealand proudly has a strong democratic system  – but

“… there is definitely room for improvement to ensure we have the best democratic system possible and that access is fair”.

And:

“The Bill seeks to stop unfair influence and potential corruption in politics.”

This implies the Greens will help to stymie passage of the Canterbury Regional Council (Ngāi Tahu Representation) Bill,  a measure designed to allow Ngai Tahu to bypass the electoral system and appoint two representatives with full voting rights on to the Canterbury Regional Council.

Continue reading “‘Democracy’ rhetoric suggests Greens will oppose Ngai Tahu power grab – but let’s not count on it”

James Shaw’s jetsetting is a drain on taxpayers but a boon to tree-planters

The Taxpayers’ Union reminded us yesterday to check out the Point of Order Jetsetting Monitor, which keeps us abreast of ministerial travel overseas.

The union noted that Climate Change Minister James Shaw spent more than any other government minister on international travel in the last quarter.

“Taxpayers will not warm to James Shaw’s $73,771 international travel spend,” executive director Jordan Williams said.

” The Green Party Leader spent more on international travel than any of his colleagues, including the Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs.”

But hey – the Ministry for the Environment, for which Shaw is ministerially responsible, claims that flying less is ‘one of the most effective climate change actions you can take.

It’s great to have this advice – except that the MfE itself has spent $769,995 on international travel since June 2017.

“It appears the Climate Change Minister is just as hypocritical,” Williams huffed.

“What is it with politicians and bureaucrats spending our money on jet-setting around the world to promote climate change? How come junkets are more worthy than protecting the planet?” Continue reading “James Shaw’s jetsetting is a drain on taxpayers but a boon to tree-planters”

The Trough Monitor: dip in for low-emission transport projects and pest eradication

The  Point of Order Trough Monitor,  which keeps a check on how taxpayers’ money is being invested, spent or given away by the Ardern Government, has alerted us to a ministerial invitation to dip snouts into the swill provided for low-emission transport projects.

The latest helping is worth $3.5 million.

Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods,  the first Minister of the Crown to trigger the Trough Monitor this year when she announced a record boost of more than $11 million for low-emission transport, today opened the Low Emission Vehicles Contestable Fund for a new round of applications.

A few days earlier the Provincial Growth Fund was tapped – perhaps plundered is a better word – to expand predator control in regional New Zealand and bolster the operations of Predator Free 2050.

A $19.5m investment is involved. One objective is to find ways of reducing the use of 1080.  Continue reading “The Trough Monitor: dip in for low-emission transport projects and pest eradication”

The Treaty and partnership are invoked as TPK goes out to promote Māori wellbeing

The Coalition Government is making solid progress on improving the wellbeing of New Zealanders and the Budget will outline further work, Finance Minister Grant Robertson enthused today.

Responding to the Salvation Army’s State of the Nation report, he said “the scale of the challenge this Government inherited means that we won’t finish our work in one year”.

Well, no.  Jacinda Ardern said something similar in the Prime Minister’s statement, presented to Parliament yesterday.

“I have reflected over summer on three things that remain true to me. No matter how much this Government did in the last year—and it was plenty—there is more to do. There is more to do.  Even if there’s a summer break, I didn’t stop thinking about that for a moment.”

The things to be done include the development of a wellbeing Budget. Continue reading “The Treaty and partnership are invoked as TPK goes out to promote Māori wellbeing”