Covid divide in 2022: you ain’t seen nothing yet

As the Omicron wave washes through, it’s hard, even with the seasonal perspective, to reckon what things might be like in say a year’s time.

But perhaps necessary.

Because the day-to-day measures seem less and less meaningful – except where they provide a pointer to the direction of long-term policy.

Continue reading “Covid divide in 2022: you ain’t seen nothing yet”

The Treaty partnership at work? DoC’s Minister is defied after declaring opposition to a rāhui in Whirinaki Conservation Park

The Point of Order team, constantly keeping an eye on Beehive decisions that affect the way we are governed, has been looking for evidence that the Minister of Conservation is in charge of the Department of Conservation and that her department can over-ride travel bans imposed by anyone who cares to put up a “Keep Out” sign.

The evidence sadly suggests the Minister, Kiritapu Allan, is not in charge.

At least, not when Maori tribal leaders opt to flex their muscle.

This raises significant questions about accountability and ministerial responsibility under the Ardern government.

It also raises questions about so-called Treaty partnerships and co-governance.

Our appetite for checking out Allan’s grip on DoC was whetted by news that tribal leaders in the Bay of Plenty area have slapped a “Keep Out” sign on the Whirinaki Conservation Park.

They don’t call it a “Keep Out” sign, of course.  They call it a rahui. Continue reading “The Treaty partnership at work? DoC’s Minister is defied after declaring opposition to a rāhui in Whirinaki Conservation Park”

Ardern has served lashings of Christmas cheer – but others dish up a more sobering outlook

So   what can  New  Zealanders   look  forward  to in 2022?

After   what  PM  Jacinda  Ardern has  labelled  an “incredibly  hard  year” , surely  the   path  ahead  is  smoother.

Don’t   bet  on  it,  even though the PM reckons our economic recovery is outstripping that of Australia, Canada, the European Union, Japan, and the OECD.

She  told  Parliament  on  its  last  sitting  day  that export forecasts were at a record high, as were milk pay-outs to farmers, and the terms of trade were positive.

Further, she said:

“A statistic that represents people’s livelihoods and their overall financial wellbeing is that we have seen unemployment down to record lows of 3.4%. And for every person that has stayed in work or has moved into work, that represents thousands and thousands of employers, business owners, business start-ups all working hard to support one another and their staff. It has truly been a team effort.

“But those numbers are also recognition of the hard work, foresight, and passion of this country’s finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, and I pay tribute to you, Grant. On a day when we release numbers that show projected net debt is lower and our return to surplus sooner, we say thank you”. Continue reading “Ardern has served lashings of Christmas cheer – but others dish up a more sobering outlook”

Hard on the heels of support for democracy in Hong Kong, Mahuta welcomes acceptance of New Caledonia governance vote

Just as we were encouraged yesterday by Nanaia Mahuta’s railing against the undermining of the democratic electoral system in Hong Kong, today we are encouraged by her acceptance of a referendum outcome in New Caledonia.  

Mind you, there is nothing like the Treaty of Waitangi in Hong Kong or New Caledonia to temper her zeal for good democratic processes.     

In today’s waving of the flag for democracy, Foreign Affairs Minister Mahuta has welcomed the fact the referendum process to determine the future status of New Caledonia had been calm and secure.

“We support the right of all peoples to self-determination, as expressed under international law,” Nanaia Mahuta said.

And when a majority of voters have determined what should happen?

Mahuta says the people then should live with the result

“Aotearoa New Zealand now encourages all parties to participate peacefully and constructively in the post-referendum transition process in the spirit of the Nouméa Accord.” Continue reading “Hard on the heels of support for democracy in Hong Kong, Mahuta welcomes acceptance of New Caledonia governance vote”

In Britain, Christmas locks itself down

Experience suggests one should only call a turning point after it has actually – well – turned.

That said, it might be wise to keep an eye on developments in the UK over the Christmas and New Year period.

While Europe is fast locking down for fear of Omicron, Britain’s cabinet is the fulcrum of a political battle over whether any policy response would be meaningful.

Continue reading “In Britain, Christmas locks itself down”

Let’s welcome Mahuta’s zeal for restoring Hong Kong’s democracy – and then let’s hope her thinking extends to NZ governance

Monitoring the Ministers

Two sets of key public-sector appointments have been announced by the ministers who serve us, since we last reported on our monitoring of the Beehive website.

Old white blokes – by the way – did not get a look-in, when it came to landing these jobs.

Children’s Minister Kelvin Davis announced three additional members have been appointed to the Oranga Tamariki Ministerial Advisory Board to provide representation for the youth, disability and Pasifika communities.

The board, set up in January, provides independent advice and assurance to the Minister for Children as work begins to “reset” the organisation.

Dr Ruth Jones, Mana Williams-Eade and Alfred Filipaina – the new appointees – join board chair Matthew Tukaki, Dame Naida Glavish, Sir Mark Solomon and Shannon Pakura

“… and will work alongside Oranga Tamariki to change our child care and protection system.”

A new action plan to implement the board’s initial recommendations has been put in place and work is well under way in talking to communities about how they see the future of child protection, Davis said.

“I firmly believe the answer lies in Oranga Tamariki taking a back seat and working in true partnership with communities who know best for their young people.”

Readers on the right of the political spectrum should be chuffed.  Davis is saying the best place for the state is to get out of our lives.

Health Minister Andrew Little and  Associate Health Minister Peeni Henare announced the two chief executives to lead New Zealand’s two new (racially segregated) health agencies. Continue reading “Let’s welcome Mahuta’s zeal for restoring Hong Kong’s democracy – and then let’s hope her thinking extends to NZ governance”

Boris: holding out till Christmas

We said a few days ago that British PM, Boris Johnson, still looked to be the indispensable man.

It’s hard to tell if subsequent events are qualifying or confirming that.

Two examples.

First, Lord Frost, Minister of State and the government’s EU strategist resigned citing the general drift of policy, most recently towards Covid authoritarianism.

Continue reading “Boris: holding out till Christmas”

Redrawing of the political battle lines is foreshadowed

Covid-19  still dominates the  news  bulletins and  there  is  only a  shadowy outline  of  the  political  debate that  will  emerge  in  sharper   focus as Christopher Luxon settles  into the  leadership of  the National  Party.

His supporters were  encouraged  by  the  bounce upward  for National  in the first  sampling  of  public opinion  since he took over.  National  rose  to  33%,  up  7%, in the  Curia  poll.

As  Curia’s  David  Farrar  noted,  the overall gap between the centre-left and centre-right is basically unchanged at 6%, so the centre-right needs to pick up another 4% or so to be in a position to form a Government.

“The key difference to last month, is that people now want to hear from National, and both National and Labour are in the 30s.Also very noteworthy is Luxon’s ratings. He enters the Preferred PM ratings at 20% (Ardern 39%). That 20% rating is the highest outside an election period for any opposition leader (excluding Ardern’s six weeks) since John Key”.
Continue reading “Redrawing of the political battle lines is foreshadowed”

A shakeup for civil defence; more funding for sporting organisations and for projects to improve wetlands

Monitoring the Ministers

We had expected to hear braying from Sports Minister Grant Robertson about funding announced for New Zealand’s high-performance athletes over the next three years.

He must have been busy with balancing the books or some such because High Performance Sport New Zealand chief executive Raelene Castle did the announcing.

High Performance Sport New Zealand will fund 44 of the country’s National Sporting Organisations (NSO’s) to the tune of $131 million over the next three years.

In addition to the $131m, HPSNZ is investing $19m in performance support services such as psychology, strength and conditioning, nutrition, medical, physiotherapy, massage therapy, and athlete life coaching, which support athlete well-being.

Turning our attention back to the Beehive, we did hear – twice – from KiriAllan.

She announced new legislation will ensure the country’s emergency management system

“… is inclusive, modern and fit-for-purpose”.

Inclusiveness – we note  – comes before fitness for purpose in the Minister’s considerations. Continue reading “A shakeup for civil defence; more funding for sporting organisations and for projects to improve wetlands”

O’Connor chuffed about NZ’s leadership on banishing fossil fuel subsidies – but the big test will be bringing the US on board

Monitoring the Ministers

The PM has been dishing out bravery awards and releasing the Government’s 2021 National Security Intelligence Priorities while Health Minister Andrew Little has been dishing out $644 million for hospital upgrades.  Or rather, he has confirmed the government will fund 36 different local hospital upgrades throughout the country and the operational costs to support them, at a total cost of $644 million  

In  one of her statements, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern acknowledged the extraordinary courage of ten people recognised for acts of bravery relating to the March 15, 2019 terrorist attacks.

In the other, she said the National Security Intelligence Priorities help us to identify threats, risks, and challenges to New Zealand’s security and wellbeing, while outlining current areas of interest where intelligence can support the Government to make informed decisions.

The Priorities have been grouped into 13 overarching themes covering a range of threats and risks to New Zealand including; foreign interference and espionage, climate change and environmental issues, malicious cyber activity, terrorism and violent extremism.  

In his statement, Andrew Little announced $100 million in fast-tracked health capital projects had been confirmed, supported by $544 million operational funding

The Government will upgrade 24 local hospitals next year to support planned and routine care, to ensure non-COVID patients are safe when COVID patients are being treated.  The Programme will be rolled out alongside an international health workforce recruitment campaign.

Oh – and let’s not overlook Finance Minister Grant Robertson’s latest statement about the resilience of the economy in the face of the impact of the Delta outbreak. Continue reading “O’Connor chuffed about NZ’s leadership on banishing fossil fuel subsidies – but the big test will be bringing the US on board”