No, we aren’t part of the nuclear submarine pact, but CER keeps us in a relationship with our cobbers in OZ

Reassuring news about this country’s relationship with Australia emerged from the office of Trade Minister Damien O’Connor yesterday after his virtual meeting with his Aussie counterpart.

It was reassuring because of the concerns raised in some quarters after this country (where we pride ourselves on shunning nuclear power) was left out of the new defence pact embracing Australia, the US and UK that will deliver a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines to the Pacific.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern responded to news of that alliance by letting the Aussies know their nuclear submarines would not be permitted in New Zealand waters, in accordance with this country’s long-held anti-nuclear stance and laws.

Whatever might happen in terms of New Zealand’s military relationships with Australia, the US and the UK,  the joint statement on the economic relationship shows the trans-Tasman trade ministers are still talking to each other.

And their statement reiterated that CER, which they described as one of the most comprehensive trade agreements in the world, underpins the integration of the New Zealand and Australian economies.  Continue reading “No, we aren’t part of the nuclear submarine pact, but CER keeps us in a relationship with our cobbers in OZ”

Who gives a tweet about MIQ misery

The government’s choice of a randomised electronic queue for the distribution of 3,000 MIQ rooms yesterday had one surprising benefit.  It showed just how many New Zealanders were desperate enough to stand in e-line – more than 26,000 according to Stuff.

It also reminds us that while ministers and their officials can sometimes do one thing well – occasionally even two or three – the system is not designed to meet your personal needs. The fatal conceit, as Friedrich Hayek pointed out, is that the bureaucracy thinks it knows what they are.

Continue reading “Who gives a tweet about MIQ misery”

The way out of Alert Level Four Covid confinement (it seems) is to get arrested and be freed on remand

The Beehive website has been focused on Covid-related news in recent days – each of the last four press statements from ministers is related to Covid-19 issues and, for good measure, we can include a statement which arrived in our email in-tray yesterday from Peeni Henare which has not yet been given “official” Beehive website status.

But none of those statements deals with the question of why a remand prisoner who should have been kept in Alert Level Four lockdown along with all other Aucklanders – preferably in a prison in his case – was allowed to cross the border to the Waikato.

And guess what?

The Minister of Health revealed at the weekend that three household members of the prisoner have tested positive for the virus. Continue reading “The way out of Alert Level Four Covid confinement (it seems) is to get arrested and be freed on remand”

Minister of Police is engaged in a relentless crackdown on the gangs – but look at how seized money is being distributed

Your Point of Order team delighted at the words chosen by Police Minister Poto Williams to brandish the government’s law-and-order colours.

Her statement was headed Government continues crackdown on gangs and organised crime and kicked off by advising us that … 

  • Operation Tauwhiro (did you know anything about it?) has been extended until March 2022
  • Since it was launched in February, Operation Tauwhiro has resulted in:
     
    • 987 firearms seized
    • $4.99 million in cash seized
    • 865 people charged with a firearms-related offence

And then we are given a welcome assurance: 

Gangs and organised crime groups will continue to be relentlessly targeted with the extension of Police’s successful organised crime operation, Police Minister Poto Williams says.

Relentlessly?

Earlier today, we had learned from Stuff that a judge has questioned the value of a controversial Mongrel Mob-led meth rehab programme, when (he contended) the gang is responsible for most local meth offending, and the programme is not approved by Corrections. Continue reading “Minister of Police is engaged in a relentless crackdown on the gangs – but look at how seized money is being distributed”

Allan spends for the future, Little hires more advisers and Shaw sets out a time line for emissions reductions

The reassuring headline on a press statement from the Minister of Conservation said Projects create benefits into the future.

Ah – a forward-looking government, obviously.

The spending of $12,997,000 of public money on the projects listed in the press statement, accordingly, has been calculated to generate future benefits.  But come to think of it, in what other direction could the benefits be created?  Benefits into the past?

Elsewhere in the Beehive, Andrew Little was adding to the small army of advisors he is building within one of his portfolios.

He is adding four members to the outfit named Kāpuia, the Ministerial Advisory Group on the Government’s Response to the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the terrorist attack on Christchurch mosques.

The group is made up of 32 members from across New Zealand, including affected family survivors and witnesses, representative communities, civil society, local government and the private sector.

Before long this group will be as big as the SIS workforce, we uncharitably mused at Point of Order, although a check with the SIS’s 2020 annual report showed this was somewhat fanciful: as of 30 June 2020 the NZSIS had 366.5 full time equivalent staff.

Little’s advisory team nevertheless is bigger than the Ardern Cabinet, which has 20 ministers. Continue reading “Allan spends for the future, Little hires more advisers and Shaw sets out a time line for emissions reductions”

Little addresses nurses on staffing, pay equity and health reforms – but Reti highlights disquieting data on flu shots

Heath Minister Andrew Little’s address to the New Zealand Nurses’ Organisation Conference included a mix of admiration for nurses’ hard work, assurances about the settlement of their employment agreement, and an outline of his aims to restructure the health system.

The speech was one of two new posts on The Beehive website when Point of Order checked this morning.

Latest from the Beehive

Speech

Speech to the New Zealand Nurses Organisation Conference 2021

I always enjoy meeting up with unions and union members, even if it is through a computer screen.

Government investment in farmer-led catchment groups sweeps past 150 mark

Government investment in on-the-ground efforts by farmers to improve land management practices has passed a milestone, with more than 170 catchment groups nationwide now receiving support, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor says.

In his speech, Andrew Little began by telling the nurses what – no doubt – they already knew:  they are carrying more than their share of the Covid-19 load, working in testing stations and vaccination stations, and caring for those who have the virus. Continue reading “Little addresses nurses on staffing, pay equity and health reforms – but Reti highlights disquieting data on flu shots”

Pike River mine settlement is reached – but socialists accuse the govt of a cover-up to protect the culpable capitalists

More money to help Covid-affected business, more money for humanitarian work in Afghanistan, more money to protect kauri …

Ministers have been busy dishing it out over the past two days.

But there’s no hint of a “$” sign or any mention of the word “payment” in a joint statement released today in the names of Bernard Monk, Andrew Little, Minister Responsible for Pike River Re-entry, and the Attorney General of New Zealand.

A note accompanying the statement says:

“The Parties have agreed on terms to fully and finally settle the proceeding and will jointly issue the below statement.”

At Point of Order, our monitors are programmed to try to winkle out the cost to taxpayers, when the government talks of a full and final settlement.

But money was not mentioned in the statement on this settlement, which is rooted in litigation stemming from the deaths of 29 men in the Pike River mine on 19 November 2010.

We wait with interest to see how the settlement is regarded by the World Socialist Web Site, which last month reported this statement from the Socialist Equality Group (New Zealand):

This statement kicked off:

“New Zealand’s Labour Party-led government has ordered work to start on a final seal at the entrance to the Pike River coal mine. Its aim is to permanently entomb the 29 bodies of the workers who died in a series of underground explosions in November 2010, and to prevent the forensic examination of crucial evidence, including an underground fan, that could establish the precise cause of the disaster.” Continue reading “Pike River mine settlement is reached – but socialists accuse the govt of a cover-up to protect the culpable capitalists”

Sio looks back to the Dawn Raids – but (more grimly) he addresses the implications for the Pacific of ocean changes

Ministers hadn’t finished their outpouring of Covid-related announcements, when Point of Order posted its update on news from The Beehive on  Friday.

Before the day was done, businesses were being reminded of a corporate welfare programme named Resurgence Support Payments, and more Covid news flowed during the weekend, including the news we will be shipping in more Pfizer vaccine from Denmark.

Two further announcements harked back to the past – the PM’s acknowledgement of the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks and an announcement of details of scholarships described as a goodwill gesture that follows the Government’s apology for the Dawn Raids of the 1970s.

The scholarship details were released by Pacific Peoples Minister Aupito William Sio.

But more much critical for the future of Pacific islands than governmental breast-beating about events several decades ago was the sobering information in a speech Sio delivered to South Pacific Regional Environment Programme ministers.

“The new science released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on 8 August paints an alarming picture of the projected impacts of climate change on the most vulnerable countries, including in the Pacific.

“The Kainaki II Declaration confirms the grave threat that climate change poses to the Pacific region.” Continue reading “Sio looks back to the Dawn Raids – but (more grimly) he addresses the implications for the Pacific of ocean changes”

Govt invests in robotics to help harvest the asparagus crop but the Nats are grouching about problems in the pork industry

A flow of Covid-related announcements from The Beehive was interrupted by news of a Government investment in robotics.

The Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures fund (SFF Futures) is contributing $2.6 million to a $5 million project to develop a commercial-scale autonomous robotic asparagus harvester.  

Project partner Robotics Plus Limited (RPL) will build on a prototype asparagus harvesting robot developed by Waikato University researchers, and the New Zealand Asparagus Council will develop a marketing proposition for exporting the asparagus.

 All other Beehive announcements (when Point of Order checked this morning) related to Covid-19.

The best of those told us more Pfizer is on the way.

Another welcome decision related to driver licences, Warrants of Fitness (WoFs), Certificates of Fitness (CoFs), vehicle licences (‘regos’) and licence endorsements that expired on or after 21 July 2021.  Their validity has been extended until 30 November. Continue reading “Govt invests in robotics to help harvest the asparagus crop but the Nats are grouching about problems in the pork industry”

Govt contributes $16.7m to breeding partnership to beef up cattle productivity while abating the gas emissions

More spending for science has been announced by the government and another partnership has been established to do the work.  This time the aim is to tackle the climate-change challenge.

The Ministry for Primary Industries’ Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures fund is contributing $6.68 million to a $16.7 million genetics programme, which aims

  • to have productivity benefits, thereby creating a competitive advantage for New Zealand beef, and
  • to lower the beef sector’s greenhouse gas emissions by delivering cows “with a smaller environmental hoof-print”.

Informing New Zealand Beef is a seven-year partnership with Beef + Lamb New Zealand, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor said.

But we wont necessarily see the hoped-for results within that time span.  Rather, O’Connor says this work

“… is expected to result in more efficient cows within the next 25 years”. Continue reading “Govt contributes $16.7m to breeding partnership to beef up cattle productivity while abating the gas emissions”