It’s Matariki (if you hadn’t noticed) but we are being urged to celebrate the occasion and not try to commercialise it

Buzz from the Beehive

Fresh news – since our previous Buzz – comes from Oceans and Fisheries Minister David Parker.  He has announced he will represent New Zealand at the second United Nations (UN) Ocean Conference in Lisbon, Portugal, which runs from 27 June to 1 July.

Other ministers presumably have gone home for the long weekend to celebrate the nation’s first authentically Māori public holiday, Matariki

Consistent with the Government’s enthusiasm for mobilising the media and commandeering the airwaves to broadcast Matariki-focused mass programming, we imagined they all would be pitching in with press statements to promote Matariki or instruct us about its cultural significance.

Not so.  We found only a speech from the PM and one press statement in the names of the PM, Kelvin Davis and Kiri Allan.

Davis is Minister of Māori Crown Relations: Te Arawhiti and the PM and Allan are Associate Ministers of Arts, Culture and Heritage.

The Minister of Arts, Culture and Heritage is Carmel Sepuloni.  We are left to conjecture on why she did not add her name to the statement. Continue reading “It’s Matariki (if you hadn’t noticed) but we are being urged to celebrate the occasion and not try to commercialise it”

How we are suckling the sheep-milk industry – Govt invests $7.97m in partnership which involves state-owned Landcorp

Buzz from the Beehive

Damien O’Connor scored twice – he issued one statement as Minister of Trade and another as Minister of Agriculture – while rookie Emergency Relief Minister Kieran McNulty broke his duck, announcing flood relief for the West Coast.

Covid-19 Response Minister Ayesha Verrall put more runs on the board, too, with a statement about Government work to combat new and more dangerous variants of COVID-19.

In his trade job, O’Connor declared he was pleased with the quick progress of the United Kingdom Free Trade Agreement Legislation Bill that was introduced to the House yesterday.

It would  enable New Zealand to implement its obligations under the FTA and was necessary to bring the FTA into force, he explained.

The Bill will align New Zealand’s domestic law with obligations in the FTA, including amendments to the Tariff Act 1988, the Tariff, the Customs and Excise Regulations 1996, the Dairy Industry Restructuring Act 2001, the Overseas Investment Act 2005, the Overseas Investment Regulations 2005, and the Copyright Act 1994. The Bill also creates new regime required to administer a transitional apple export quota. Continue reading “How we are suckling the sheep-milk industry – Govt invests $7.97m in partnership which involves state-owned Landcorp”

Flexing the state’s muscle: Māori ministers are admiring as the media are mobilised to inform the masses about Matariki

Buzz from the Beehive

The state is flexing its muscle in the building and supermarket industries.

In the building industry the intervention can be criticised as long overdue and unlikely to do much good any time soon to remedy a crippling shortage of plasterboard.

A Ministerial taskforce has been set up to look at what more can be done to ease the  shortage, including the potential for legislative or regulatory change.

In the supermarket business, the muscle-flexing has been announced in robust language – the press statement is headed Commerce Commission empowered to crackdown on covenants.

The Commerce Commission will be enabled to require supermarkets to hand over information regarding contracts, arrangements and land covenants which make it difficult for competing retailers to set up shop.

A much more troubling sign of the state flexing its muscle can be found in a statement jointly released by  Māori Development Minister Willie Jackson and Māori Crown Relations Te Arawhiti Minister Kelvin Davis.  Their lark is the mobilising of the media for an exercise in mass education – or is it indoctrination? Continue reading “Flexing the state’s muscle: Māori ministers are admiring as the media are mobilised to inform the masses about Matariki”

Dishing out awards to volunteers should have been a calming chore for Minister in charge of highly stressed health system

Buzz from the Beehive

We introduced our Buzz report yesterday by observing that while Health Minister Andrew Little was announcing the launch of a meth addiction service in the Eastern Bay of Plenty, two of his colleagues were dealing with global issues.

We introduce today’s Buzz with much the same sentence.  While Andrew Little was at an awards ceremony to celebrate winners of this year’s Minister of Health Volunteer Awards, two of his colleagues were dealing with global issues  – the PM announced plans to travel to Europe and Australia “for a range of trade, tourism and foreign policy events”; Trade Minister Damien O’Connor will travel to Europe, Canada and Australia “to advance New Zealand’s economic interests”.

The PM’s travel plans most notably include her attendance of a session of the NATO Summit along with leaders from Australia, Japan and the Republic of Korea.

The awards ceremony in Parliament’s Grand Hall would have provided Little with an hour or so of relief from a slew of challenges within his portfolio and a daily flow of adverse news media reports – Continue reading “Dishing out awards to volunteers should have been a calming chore for Minister in charge of highly stressed health system”

O’Connor chalks up global fishing success – now let’s see if Twyford can persuade Russia (and others) to agree to nuclear-weapon ban

Buzz from the Beehive

While Health Minister Andrew Little was announcing the launch of a meth addiction service in the Eastern Bay of Plenty, two of his colleagues were dealing with much grander global issues – one related to the international regulation of fishing, the other dealing with efforts to ban nuclear weapons.

Trade Minister Damien O’Connor – reporting back from Europe ahead of his return home – said New Zealand’s leadership had contributed to a number of significant outcomes and progress at the Twelfth Ministerial Conference (MC12) of the World Trade Organization (WTO), which concluded in the early hours of Friday morning after a week of intense negotiations between its 164 members.

A major outcome was a new Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies

New Zealand had been at the forefront of calling for an agreement on fisheries subsidies for more than 20 years,

“…so, this is a significant milestone,” Damien O’Connor said. Continue reading “O’Connor chalks up global fishing success – now let’s see if Twyford can persuade Russia (and others) to agree to nuclear-weapon ban”

PM says there’s not much to learn from by-elections – but Tauranga voters weren’t signalling an end to Labour’s slide in popularity

The  Tauranga by-election confirmed  Labour’s slide  in popularity, with  its  candidate,  the  newly promoted Cabinet minister Jan Tinetti, winning only 25%  of  the  vote, 14%  less  than  in 2020.

But Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern didn’t  see  it  that  way.  She  said  Tinetti received one of the better results the party has recorded in Tauranga in a number of decades.

In somewhat convoluted English, she further said:

“I think actually for by-elections, it’s very hard to read into them as someone who’s run in a by-election myself because it’s just simply not the same as in general elections, you don’t often have every party represented, so I’m not quick to read into individual outcomes.”

Tinetti came in with a very similar proportion of the vote to the support Labour received in Tauranga when it became the government in 2017, Ardern said.

But it was difficult to extrapolate too many lessons from by-elections, she said.

“Of course hearing from Jan and what she was hearing and experiencing, we listen to that in the same way as what we hear and experience with all of our MPs and every Tuesday we reflect on that in our caucus meeting.” Continue reading “PM says there’s not much to learn from by-elections – but Tauranga voters weren’t signalling an end to Labour’s slide in popularity”

While some talk of recession, Nash has cheering news (and a $54m trough) for the tourism sector – or for favoured operators, at least

Buzz from the Beehive

Businesspeople gathered in Christchurch for a national trade show called MEETINGS were treated to a cheering-up speech from Stuart Nash, Minister of Economic and Regional Development and of Tourism.

MEETINGS is described as the only national tradeshow in New Zealand for the business events industry, organised by Business Events Industry Aotearoa (BEIA). Once a year, the conference, meetings and events, exhibition and travel incentive sector come together to discuss new business opportunities across the country.

And – in this case – they heard from Nash about the sums the government is providing to boost the industry.  A trough, in other words.

More ominously (if you happen to be bothered about the futures of industries which become subjected to central planning) he enthused about the government’s strategy for the tourist sector and policies which determine what sort of tourists should be encouraged to come here.  

It was the same day that StatsNZ added to a stream of disquieting economic news (a 10 per cent rise in food prices, a stock market crash and so on)  by reporting New Zealand’s GDP fell 0.2 per cent in the March 2022 quarter, worse than most economists had forecast. Continue reading “While some talk of recession, Nash has cheering news (and a $54m trough) for the tourism sector – or for favoured operators, at least”

Rwanda travel plans for UK deportees are stymied but Prince Charles is headed there – and Nanaia Mahuta is going, too

Buzz from the Beehive

Rwanda is back in the headlines, not only for the role it is playing in the British Government’s  highly controversial plans for ridding their country of asylum seekers (the first deportation flight was cancelled after a last-minute intervention by the European Court of Human Rights, which decided there was “a real risk of irreversible harm’’ to the asylum seekers involved).

The Central African country is also embroiled in a dispute with the Democratic Republic of the Congo, each country accusing the other of firing rockets across their shared border.

According to Al Jazeera,

“This seems to have been triggered by fighting between the M23 rebel group and state forces in the country’s east.

“Both Congo and the United Nations have accused Rwanda of supporting the M23 movement.” Continue reading “Rwanda travel plans for UK deportees are stymied but Prince Charles is headed there – and Nanaia Mahuta is going, too”

No abusive responses to this post, please, but shouldn’t the interests of Seniors be looked after by a more mature Minister?

Buzz from the Beehive

Efforts to buttress New Zealand’s relationships with our South Pacific neighbours are reflected in two announcements from the Beehive.  Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says she had a warm and productive meeting with Samoa’ Prime Minister, Fiamē Naomi Mata’afa, in Wellington yesterday and Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta said tomorrow she will welcome Penny Wong on her first official visit to New Zealand as Australia’s Foreign Minister.

The Prime Ministers issued a Joint Statement acknowledging “strong cooperation” on COVID-19 and vaccines, a commitment to work together to navigate post-pandemic economic challenges, the importance of regional unity, and the pre-eminent role of existing regional architecture, such as the Pacific Island Forum.

They also agreed to strengthen cooperation on climate change.

Mahuta echoed this, saying she looked forward to talking to the new Foreign Minister on Australia’s climate change agenda and further ways of assisting Pacific Island nations on mitigation and adaptation measures. Continue reading “No abusive responses to this post, please, but shouldn’t the interests of Seniors be looked after by a more mature Minister?”

Covid is still with us, so don’t expect gang violence and ram raids to be eradicated now that Hipkins has the Police portfolio

Buzz from the Beehive

On the Beehive website, news of Kris Faafoi resigning from Parliament preceded news of the PM reshuffling her cabinet.   Indeed, Faafoi’s resignation – along with news of Trevor Mallard stepping down as Speaker of the House – provided the rationale for the PM’ reshuffle.

The timing in our email in-tray was different.  First (at 3.14pm), we learned of the Cabinet reshuffle and then (at 3.16pm) we were advised of Faafoi’s  resignation.

No matter.  The PM’s press statement said she has made changes to her Cabinet line-up following the decision of senior Minister Kris Faafoi to resign from Parliament and Speaker Trevor Mallard’s nomination to a European diplomatic posting.

There will be no mucking about with the reshuffle (which is more substantial than generally had been expected).  The changes will take effect after a ceremony at Government House this  afternoon.    Continue reading “Covid is still with us, so don’t expect gang violence and ram raids to be eradicated now that Hipkins has the Police portfolio”