The summer holidays are over – but where in the world will we find the Minister?

The summer holidays are over, the flow of press statements from the Beehive is increasing and – we may assume – our Ministers will be busy at their desks or with engagements here and there around the country.  Or maybe they are or will be engaged in very important business overseas.

The Point of Order monitor of Beehive press statements has been idle since Christmas but burst back into life yesterday to register four sets of travel plans.

These included confirmation of the European travel plans of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to promote trade “and wellbeing” (good luck with that) which we portended late in January.

This mission includes a meeting with Britain’s Theresa May.  Events in recent days suggest there must have been huge doubt over whether this meeting would be with May or someone else.

With more certainty, the PM looks forward to again meeting Prince William.

Here’s what the monitor showed …. Continue reading “The summer holidays are over – but where in the world will we find the Minister?”

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Organise Aotearoa’s vision of a brave new world – and its endorsement of Jacinda-style consultation

At Point of Order, we like to think the advocacy of good ideas and the strength of the arguments in support of change will help create a better New Zealand.   Organise Aotearoa more ambitiously – and with a greater inclination to robust physical action rather than rhetoric – is intent on changing the world.

On some things we agree.  The notion that “politics is for everyone”, for example.

We are not so sure about the nature of the political system that would be set up by Organise Aotearoa.

Their website says: Continue reading “Organise Aotearoa’s vision of a brave new world – and its endorsement of Jacinda-style consultation”

A mood of anticipation has been created – Ardern now must deliver

After  a  year  in  which  the  Labour-NZ  First  coalition  settled into  office  and  those  who had never  expected  to  sight the  inside of the Cabinet room were adjusting to  their new riding instructions,  the mood of the country  is  now anticipatory. 

The   government  has  generated a  sense  of change,  if  only   by its  ministers  harping on  about  “ nine years of  neglect”.  It’s a theme  that  may come back to  haunt  them.

For  change  itself   can be  unsettling.  Politically,  New  Zealanders prefer stability. They are  not  revolutionaries.

That’s why  Grant Robertson has  kept a   steady  hand on the   tiller,  eschewing  the  drastic  economic  reform   those  on the fringes  call  for.  Continue reading “A mood of anticipation has been created – Ardern now must deliver”

It’s the year for all those reports to demand decisions

The  Labour-NZ First  coalition  must have been  agreeably  surprised on  completing the year  with  so many  encomiums  from the  pundits  on  its performance.  And with the economy chugging along  at  a useful, though uneven,  pace  the   government  could look back on  2018  with a  great  deal of  satisfaction (as  the  NZ Herald  contended).

But will  2019   be  as  easily navigated?

For this is the  year  of  decision.  The reports  from the scores of   reviews   the government has  ordered will be  piling up on ministerial  desks.  How  well  equipped  is  the coalition to  deal  with them?

Some   insights might  be  found   in  how  Cabinet   operated in  the year past.  Every   ministry  has  its duds  and  Prime  Minister  Jacinda Ardern’s team  is  no  exception,  with  Clare  Curran  and  Meka Whatiri leading the way and Iain Lees-Galloway deserving, but escaping,  the  drop-kick.

But  Ardern   herself  starred   both at  home and  abroad.  Her   ratings in  political  polls  stayed  astonishingly  high.  Across  the Tasman,  she stirred  envy   in  Canberra  where there is a revolving door into the  prime minister’s office.   And there  were accolades at  home:  Tracy  Watkins in  the  Dominion-Post wrote  “The Prime  Minister is at the height of her powers… her international cachet   is huge”.   Continue reading “It’s the year for all those reports to demand decisions”

Ministerial appointments monitor – jobs for the boys (and jobs for the girls, too)

The government makes appointments to 429 state sector boards and committees every year, according to Ethnic Communities Minister Jenny Salesa.  This gives Ministers several opportunities to wield power by making appointments or recommending them, creating a perception that appointments are a form of political patronage.

Ministers proudly announce an array of other appointments, such as judges and overseas envoys.

The past week’s announcements include a batch of diplomatic appointments by Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters.  All the jobs have gone to career diplomats.

Associate Justice Minister Jan Logie drew attention to the first day of work for a Māori advisory group – Te Rōpū – which has been appointed to help transform the whole-of-government response to family violence, sexual violence and violence within whānau.

Did we miss a ministerial announcement of the 10 new appointments?

An accompanying document provided us with the names of the interim appointees.

The interim chair is Prue Kapua, president of the Māori Women’s Welfare League, who landed another job a few weeks ago when she became one of three new members added to the Waitangi Tribunal.  Tribunal members are appointed by the Governor-General on the recommendation of the Minister for Māori Development.

Point of Order’s weekly monitoring of Beehive press statements to learn who has been favoured by ministerial appointments in the past week shows this … Continue reading “Ministerial appointments monitor – jobs for the boys (and jobs for the girls, too)”

The Trough Monitor – more servings of a rich gravy from the PGF

The Point of Order Trough Monitor sounded two alerts this morning, both triggered by  pre-Christmas distributions from the Provincial Growth Fund.

But hey – there hasn’t been one Santa Claus.  There have been two.

One chunk of money, headed for the Coromandel, was announced by the usual dispenser of PGF largess, Shane Jones, wearing his hat as Minister of Regional Economic Development.

Perhaps in the spirit of seasonal good will, Jones stepped aside for the Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development, Fletcher Tabuteau, to enjoy the pleasure that comes from announcing a boost to Southland’s economy.

On second thoughts, perhaps he couldn’t be in two places at once.

Anyway, Tabuteau did a splendid job of declaring PGF support for an Invercargill development project, aquaculture, and sheep and goat dairy initiatives.

The PGF feasibility projects he announced are:

$995,000 for Invercargill inner-city development
$424,900 for Southland hatchery and nursery
$490,000 for sheep and goat industry resources

Funding of the Inner-City Development will support Stage Two of the project, which includes preparing a business case, feasibility study, concept designs and procurement strategies.

The aquaculture project gets an injection of $424,900 to fund a business case to assess the development of a state-of-the art, land-based commercial hatchery to produce salmon smolt and mussel spat.

The third project is a $490,000 investment with FoodSouth to scope further development of the sheep and goat milk industry.

“Sheep milk farming exists in pockets around the country, particularly in Southland, but this project will assess the economic viability of developing a nationwide industry.”

FoodSouth will develop a national business case of the industry to identify export opportunities, estimates required for goat and sheep milk volumes to meet potential demand, and consider the best locations for processing plants.

The report will focus on four products which are considered to have high-value potential: liquids, cheese, butter, and protein powders.

“Southland sheep milk farmers stand to benefit from the information and insights this project will create, including workshops and market research.”

We suppose this is the same FoodSouth which was the subject of this announcement when Callaghan Innovation and Canterbury Development Corporation announced its opening and its purpose.

If it is the same outfit, let’s note that is has been suckled on the teat of public funding:

Canterbury Development Corporation and Callaghan Innovation are providing joint funding of $5.7 million over five years to establish and operate this new facility. Site services and accommodation are being provided by Lincoln University.

Now let’s head for the Coromandel ,  where Jones announced the PGF was investing $924,000 in aquaculture and marine services.

“It makes sense to invest in aquaculture, which has grown by 70 per cent in seven years, has annual sales of $612 million and can drive regional development,” Shane Jones said.

So why isn’t the private sector investing?

Jones says funding into feasibility studies “will help get the planning right to support future aquaculture and marine services”.

The Coromandel beneficiaries are –

Sugarloaf Wharf, Coromandel, $558,000  

Coromandel Marine Gateway, $93,850

Kopu Marine Precinct, Coromandel, $270,000

The potential to expand Sugarloaf Wharf to accommodate growing aquaculture demand is being explored as a first step.

The feasibility of developing a large marine facility at Coromandel Gateway to increase capacity and overall safety for recreational users and ferry and charter boats will be examined.

At Kopu Marine Precinct, the enhancement of marine facilities and supporting services for large locally based boats and barges will be investigated.

Now let’s wait to learn where Jones will next toss our money…

Today is Tuesday – so where in the world will the Minister be?

If they are not hard at work in their Beehive offices, our Ministers will be busy with engagements here and there around the country – or engaged in very important business overseas.

The Point of Order monitor of Beehive press statements in the past week brings no surprises.  The whereabouts of Foreign Minister Winston Peters and Climate Change Minister James Shaw have been given widespread media coverage in recent days – but for the record:

Continue reading “Today is Tuesday – so where in the world will the Minister be?”