Chloe Swarbrick helps scuttle medicinal cannabis bill because it embraces a “pharmaceuticalised commercial model”

The National Party’s deputy leader and health spokesperson, Shane Reti, popped into the news yesterday because he was promoting a bill before Parliament which aimed to make medicinal cannabis more affordable and accessible.

The Greens Chloe Swarbrick was among the MPs who voted against the bill, among other reasons because …

“It represents a highly pharmaceuticalised, commercial model…” 

Does this mean she wants amateur growers to get a slice of the medicinal action? Or gang members?

Reti told RNZ the bill had three key points: cannabis with low THC could be obtained over the counter; it improved the MedSafe consenting process; and the prescribing regime would be pharmacy dispensing, such as in the US.

Moreover, the bill addressed some issues under the current regime, such as tightening up the eligibility of who can manufacture medicinal cannabis.

A key consideration was that two years after the medicinal cannabis law took effect

“ …  we have no new affordable products on the shelf and we need to change that really quickly.” Continue reading “Chloe Swarbrick helps scuttle medicinal cannabis bill because it embraces a “pharmaceuticalised commercial model””

Let’s see how the milk flows – and to whom – after DIRA changes are included in a deluge of new laws

Latest from the Beehive

While the news media have been preoccupied with matters such as the resignation of a National MP and sacking of a Labour minister in recent days, Parliament has been getting on with legislating.  It has passed a tanker-load of bills, since we last posted a Beehive Bulletin, including legislation that government the economically vital dairy industry and Fonterra’s role in it.

The Dairy Industry Restructuring Amendment Bill amends legislation passed almost 20 years ago to enable the creation of Fonterra and promote the efficient operation of dairy markets in New Zealand.

But the dairy sector has changed considerably since 2001 and the amendments made to “this very aged legislation” ensure this regulatory regime puts the sector in the best possible position in a post-COVID world, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor said.

The Primary Production Select Committee had recommended removing the requirement on Fonterra to accept all applications from dairy farmers wanting to become shareholders and supply milk to Fonterra, or re-enter Fonterra after leaving the co-operative.  O’Connor agreed on this point.

“This Government is determined to ensure we move milk up the value chain. This change will enable Fonterra to invest in that higher-value end.

“The new and improved DIRA Bill will serve our dairy sector, and New Zealand, well for many years to come.”

The Bill:

  • Removes the requirement for Fonterra to accept applications to become shareholders, and provides guidance on what it should consider when assessing applications.
  • Provides for a regular review of the DIRA on a 4 – 6 yearly basis, to provide regulatory certainty.
  • Limits Fonterra’s discretion in regard to setting a key assumption in calculating the base milk price (the ‘asset beta’).
  • Requires Fonterra to appoint one member of its Milk Price Panel on the nomination of the Minister of Agriculture.
  • Removes the requirement for Fonterra to supply regulated milk to independent processors with their own supply of 30 million litres or more in a single season.
  • Updates the terms on which Fonterra supplies regulated milk to Goodman Fielder for the benefit of domestic consumers.

But our legislators have been frenetically busy on several other fronts.-

The passing of the Public Service Legislation Bill will repeal and replace the State Sector Act 1988.   The new Act:

  • provides a more flexible set of options for how the Public Service can organise itself to better respond to specific priorities
  • allows public servants to move between agencies more easily
  • clearly establishes the purpose, principles, and values of an apolitical Public Service, as well as its role in government formation
  • supports the Crown in its commitment to and its relationship with Māori
  • strengthens leadership across the Public Service and, in particular, provides for system and future focused leadership, and
  • shifts the focus from state services to public services, changing the name of the State Services Commission to the Public Service Commission.

Parliament has passed the Forests (Regulation of Log Traders and Forestry Advisers) Amendment Bill, intended to provide better information on log supply and build investor confidence in the forestry sector. The Bill was introduced as part of Budget 2020 and supports the predictable and long-term supply of timber. Forestry Minister Shane Jones says it will help build stronger linkages between forest growers, domestic processors and exporters, improved professional standards, and greater confidence in business transactions both domestically and internationally.

The Equal Pay Amendment Bill was passed, aimed at giving people working in female-dominated professions a clearer pathway for pay equity by ensuring that businesses, workers, and unions can bargain more effectively and fairly. It aligns with the bargaining process in the Employment Relations Act 2000.

The Infrastructure Funding and Financing Act – described as a breakthrough for housing developments in high-growth areas – has been passed into law.  It establishes the Infrastructure Levy Model, which the Government has developed in partnership with high-growth councils. A key feature of the model is the establishment of an entity called a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), a financing tool that enables debt finance to be raised from the private sector and ring-fenced from a council’s balance sheet, not affecting their debt levels or credit rating.

The just-passed Rates Rebate (Statutory Declarations) Amendment Act makes it easier for eligible ratepayers to access the Rates Rebate Scheme. This is expected to make it easier for low income ratepayers to get rates support from the Government. In the 2019 rating year, 103,000 people successfully applied for a rates rebate.

The passage of the Urban Development Bill aims to give Kāinga Ora-Homes and Communities the tools it needs to build homes at scale and pace by bringing together councils, communities, mana whenua and private developers .  It will lead projects that will transform communities all around New Zealand, and provide much-needed housing and infrastructure.

The passing of Te Ture Whenua Māori (Succession, Dispute Resolution, and Related Matters) Amendment Bill ensures the legislation works better for Māori land owners and fixes some of the barriers to succeeding Māori land.  The legislation changes the Te Ture Whenua Māori Act to give Māori land owners better support to resolve disputes and build papakāinga housing on their whenua .

The passing of the Taumata Arowai – the Water Services Regulator Bill creates a new regulatory body to oversee, administer and enforce a new and strengthened drinking water regulatory system. It will also have a national oversight role to improve the environmental performance of storm water and wastewater networks.

Law changes to end tenure review and provide for better management of Crown pastoral lands in the South Island high country were considered by Parliament with the first reading of the Crown Pastoral Land Reform Bill.  Publicly owned Crown pastoral lands comprise 1.2 million hectares of land in the South Island and represent about 5% of New Zealand’s land area. The Crown Pastoral Land Reform Bill ends tenure review. It aims to ensure the ecological, landscape, cultural, heritage and scientific values of Crown owned pastoral land are maintained or improved, while at the same time providing for ongoing pastoral farming.

While those bills were being considered, some ministers nevertheless had time to dole out million of dollars of our money.

  • A $50 million investment is being made from the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund to address the backlog of cases across the court system following the COVID-19 lockdown period. It will provide for five District Court judges, four acting High Court judges, one acting Associate judge and around 40 fulltime support staff. The funding also provides for extra Police prosecution staff to support more criminal events in court; two extra Corrections prison officers to support those held on remand and for transport to-and-from court or AVL appearances; further resource for Oranga Tamariki for the increase in care and protection of children applications; and a small investment in Crown Law for increased Crown prosecution work.
  • The Government is putting $8.5 million towards the restoration and strengthening of the Metropolitan Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Wellington. The funding comes from the $3 billion tagged contingency set aside in Budget 2020 for infrastructure.  Almost 300 construction jobs will be created.
  • The Government is investing $53.3 million in a variety of projects in the Nelson, Marlborough and Tasman regions. The projects are being funded by a combination of loans and investments from the Provincial Growth Fund and the Infrastructure Reference Group’s shovel ready projects.
  • Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the Government has invested $48 million in seven infrastructure projects in Taranaki to support jobs and the regional economy. The grandstands at Yarrow Stadium get the lion’s share, a $20 million investment, with co-funding from the regional council, to bring the stadium back to full operational use (and create 150 jobs).

Then there were matters we can sum up as “other business“.

  • New rules to help our fastest growing cities make room for their rising populations have been released. The National Policy Statement on Urban Development (NPS-UD) will direct councils – particularly in the five high growth centres of Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Wellington, and Christchurch – to free up their planning rules while focusing on well-functioning neighbourhoods and communities.  Later this month an announcement will be made on the timeline for the companion National Policy Statement for Highly Productive Land (NPS-HPL), which will ensure highly productive land for food and fibre production is not permanently lost to developments without considering other options.
  • The report back of the Royal Commission into the Attacks on Christchurch Mosques on 15 March 2019 has been further extended due to delays resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.  The Commission will now report back on November 26.
  • Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Energy Minister Megan Woods launched “Ara Ake” in New Plymouth.  That’s the name they have given the National New Energy Development Centre funded (to the tune of $27m) by the Government and established by Venture Taranaki. Are Ake will lead the development of new clean energy technologies and work with businesses to commercialise their innovations creating high-paying local jobs.
  • Australian Trade, Tourism and Investment Minister Simon Birmingham and New Zealand Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker met virtually yesterday to conduct annual Closer Economic Relations discussions between two of the world’s most integrated economies.

Release

24 JULY 2020

Government ensures greater safety for our drinking water

The passing today of the Taumata Arowai – the Water Services Regulator Bill draws a further line under the Havelock North tragedy and will lead to safer and sustainable drinking water for all New Zealanders.

Hon Nanaia Mahuta

Local Government

Release

24 JULY 2020

Whenua law changes help whānau

Māori land owners will be better supported to resolve disputes and build papakāinga housing on their whenua with targeted changes to Te Ture Whenua Māori Act now becoming law.

Release

24 JULY 2020

Better access to rates support

Minister of Local Government Hon Nanaia Mahuta welcomes legislation that makes it easier for low income ratepayers to access rates support from the Government.

Hon Nanaia Mahuta

Local Government

Release

24 JULY 2020

Mosque Attack Royal Commission to report back in November

There has been a further extension to the report back of the Royal Commission into the Attacks on Christchurch Mosques on 15 March 2019, Minister for Internal Affairs Tracey Martin has confirmed.

Hon Tracey Martin

Internal Affairs

Release

24 JULY 2020

Law to help infrastructure financing passes

The Government has passed legislation establishing a new tool to enable infrastructure for housing and urban development.

Hon Phil Twyford

Economic Development

Release

24 JULY 2020

DIRA Bill will serve the dairy sector well for years to come

Legislation to deliver ongoing benefits for New Zealand farmers was passed today, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor announced today.

Hon Damien O’Connor

Agriculture

Release

24 JULY 2020

Over $53m for Top of the South projects

The Government is investing $53.3 million in a variety of projects that will provide a huge boost to the Nelson, Marlborough and Tasman regions.

Fletcher Tabuteau

Regional Economic Development

Release

24 JULY 2020

Sacred Heart Cathedral to be restored and strengthened

Almost 300 construction jobs will be created with work getting underway on the restoration and strengthening of the Metropolitan Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Wellington.

Hon Grant Robertson

Arts, Culture and Heritage

 

Finance

Release

24 JULY 2020

Support to clear COVID-19 affected court cases

The Government is taking action to address the backlog of cases across the court system following the COVID-19 lockdown period, Minister of Justice Andrew Little announced today.

Hon Andrew Little

Justice

Release

23 JULY 2020

Equal Pay Amendment Bill Passes with Unanimous Support

New Zealanders working in female-dominated professions will have a clearer pathway for pay equity with the passing of the Equal Pay Amendment Bill at 11:59pm this evening, say Minister for Workplace Relations, Andrew Little, and Minister for Women, Julie Anne Genter.

Hon Andrew Little Hon Julie Anne Genter

Women

Workplace Relations and Safety

Release

23 JULY 2020

New legislation to end tenure review and improve management of Crown pastoral lands

Law changes to end tenure review and provide for better management of Crown pastoral lands in the South Island high country were considered by Parliament today with the first reading of the Crown Pastoral Land Reform Bill says Minister for Land Information, Eugenie Sage.

Hon Eugenie Sage

Land Information

Release

23 JULY 2020

Log Traders & Forestry Advisers Registration Bill passed by Parliament

Parliament has today passed the Forests (Regulation of Log Traders and Forestry Advisers) Amendment Bill that will provide better information on log supply and build investor confidence in the forestry sector, Forestry Minister Shane Jones says.

Hon Shane Jones

Forestr

Release

23 JULY 2020

Joint Ministerial Statement: New Zealand-Australia trade talks

Senator the Hon Simon Birmingham, Australian Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment and Hon David Parker MP, New Zealand Minister for Trade and Export Growth, met virtually on Thursday 23 July to conduct annual Closer Economic Relations discussions between two of the world’s most integrated economies.

Hon David Parker

Trade and Export Growth

Release

23 JULY 2020

Kāinga Ora gets tooled up to build more homes

Legislation to transform our urban areas and create sustainable, inclusive and thriving communities was passed today, Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford said.

Hon Phil Twyford

Urban Development

Release

23 JULY 2020

New rules to help our cities grow up and out

New rules to help our fastest growing cities make room for their rising populations has today been released by Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford and Environment Minister David Parker.

Hon Phil Twyford Hon David Parker

Environment

Urban Development

Release

23 JULY 2020

Parliament passes Bill to reform public service

Minister of State Services Chris Hipkins said today’s passing of the Public Service Legislation Bill will deliver the most significant change in the public service in 30 years.

Hon Chris Hipkins

State Services

Release

23 JULY 2020

Grand plans funded for Yarrow Stadium as Govt invests in Taranaki infrastructure

Repairs and redevelopment of Yarrow Stadium in New Plymouth will bring it back to full use while creating economic stimulus and jobs, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced while visiting the region and the stadium today.

Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern

Prime Minister

Release

23 JULY 2020

Clean energy boost as Ara Ake launched

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Energy Minister Megan Woods launched Ara Ake in New Plymouth today – the National New Energy Development Centre funded by the Government and established by Venture Taranaki.

 

Mollifying Maori Party president about discriminatory words would call for much rewriting of NZ law books

Point of Order has plucked a piece of legislation from the law books – the Fire and Emergency New Zealand Act 2017 – which mentions the power to enter homes and marae.

It says:

A FENZ inspector must not, except with the consent of an occupier or under a warrant, enter any land or building that is a home or a marae or a building associated with a marae.

We wonder if this is acceptable to the president of the Maori Party.

The Food Act contains provisions on marae food. 

This seems troublesome, too, after the Maori Party’s president was quoted as saying “prejudice” tainted the highly contentious Covid-19 Public Health Response Bill from the time it used a term that pertains to Māoridom.

Really?

Similarly, the Charities Act 2005 might be problematic. Continue reading “Mollifying Maori Party president about discriminatory words would call for much rewriting of NZ law books”

Parliament legislated at great speed to change the tax laws but slowed down when MPs’ pay cuts were at issue

The Covid-19 emergency has been used by the government to justify legislative urgency and curtail Parliamentary scrutiny.

The aim was worthy – to introduce  a package of tax reforms. The process was shabby.

Urgency provisions were invoked to have the package legislated quicker you can say IRD.

Just as shamefully, the government moved smartly this week to scuttle a bill aimed at lopping the pay of all members of Parliament.  Finance Minister Grant Robertson denied Parliament the opportunity to consider this measure, promoted by Act leader David Seymour, by vetoing its introduction.

Revenue Minister Stuart Nash, in charge of the tax package, was unapologetic about the unseemly haste he intended should be taken.  He issued a statement to proclaim:

A significant package of tax reforms will be pushed through all stages in Parliament today to throw a cash flow lifeline to small businesses. Continue reading “Parliament legislated at great speed to change the tax laws but slowed down when MPs’ pay cuts were at issue”

Here’s your chance to let Parliament know what you think of its curbs on Henry VIII (and other) powers

We were about to pack up the office PC and spend the rest of the weekend relaxing when we were alerted to an exercise in Parliamentary scrutiny which ..

Well, the word “arcane” sprang to mind.  But perhaps this reflects badly on our need to brush up on some aspects of the legislative process.

The news is that the Regulations Review Committee has called for submissions on an inquiry into parliamentary scrutiny of confirmable instruments.

Do we hear whoops of approval among our readers?

Or are you asking: Confirmable instruments?   What are they?

Those of you steeped in the art of parliamentary law-making won’t need to read the report produced by the Regulations Review Committee which contains the answer. Continue reading “Here’s your chance to let Parliament know what you think of its curbs on Henry VIII (and other) powers”

Hurrah for self-identification – already we can change our gender and in the UK we can change our race, too

Legislators who are being pressed to change discriminatory laws  – including a measure enabling people to choose the gender recorded on their birth certificates –  should brace for a fresh wave of agitation.

It’s the notion that people should be allowed to choose their race as well as their gender.

University staff and students in Britain have been told they can choose if they are black, white or any other race as well as their gender and whether they are disabled.

The decision was made by the University and Colleges Union, which represents researchers, teaching staff and lecturers.

Its latest report says:

“Our rules commit us to ending all forms of discrimination, bigotry and stereotyping.

“UCU has a long history of enabling members to self-identify whether that is being black, disabled, LGBT+ or women.” Continue reading “Hurrah for self-identification – already we can change our gender and in the UK we can change our race, too”

Brexit and the popular vote – a lesson in folly that should steer NZ First away from facile referenda

Veteran journalist David Barber, a champion of  voluntary euthanasia, and Ken Orr, spokesman for Right to Life, have found common ground.  Both agree that our elected politicians should not be passing the buck on the End of Life Choice Bill to a referendum.

They question the need for a binding referendum being held at the 2020 general election, if the contentious End of Life Choice Bill is passed at its third reading on November 13.  This is the consequence of the nine MPs of NZ First pledging to support the third reading of the bill on the condition that Parliament votes to support its supplementary order paper requiring such a referendum.

But the Brexit shambles in Britain provides ample evidence that a referendum can undermine a democracy rather than buttress or strengthen it.

The shambles is the subject of an article, headed Brexit is putting parliamentary democracy in question, recently published by the European Council on Foreign Relations, an international think-tank.  

It begins:

“Brexit may well become a textbook example of the damage that a referendum can wreak on parliamentary democracy.” Continue reading “Brexit and the popular vote – a lesson in folly that should steer NZ First away from facile referenda”

What’s up, doc? Oh, a sharp difference of opinion on legislation to help the terminally ill

Deep divisions in the medical community have become apparent as David Seymour’s End of Life Choice Bill is about to return to Parliament – on Wednesday next week – for what promises to be a tortuous clause-by-clause third reading debate.

A group of doctors who support the Bill – which would allow the terminally ill to get  medical assistance to end their suffering – this week accused the New Zealand Medical Association of ignoring international evidence on the issue in favour of “conservative cultural and personal beliefs”.

In a letter to NZMA chair Dr Kate Baddock, the group accused the six-member NZMA board, which opposed the Bill in submissions to the justice select committee, of ignoring international “disciplined, rational, evidence-based scientific medicine” on the issue.

“As such you and the board could be accused of being no more advanced than the ‘anti-vaxers’ or the ‘anti-1080 lobby’, whose beliefs cannot be impinged upon by science, fact or rational thinking,” the letter said.

It was signed by Dr Miles Williams, cardiologist, of Hastings, and 18 other practising and retired doctors. Continue reading “What’s up, doc? Oh, a sharp difference of opinion on legislation to help the terminally ill”

The Treaty is called on to be made relevant to whatever issue a government wants – this time, with plant varieties and IP

The remarkable elasticity of the Treaty of Waitangi is again being demonstrated in government proposals to insert a Treaty clause in the Plant Varieties Act.

Intellectual Property Office consultations on the issue wrap up on Wednesday.

An attempt to mollify Maori with a Treaty clause was portended in September last year when Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi released an issues paper for public consultation on New Zealand’s plant variety rights law, which regulates intellectual property protection over new plant varieties.

Faafoi released the paper while attending the Ngā Taonga Tuku Iho Conference, which provided a platform for attendees to lament it had been 25 years since the Mataatua Declaration (on the Cultural and Intellectual Property Rights of Indigenous Peoples) was developed.  It was 26 years since the WAI-262 Indigenous Flora and Fauna Waitangi Tribunal Claim was lodged and seven years since the Tribunal released its Ko Aotearoa Tēnei report on the claim. Continue reading “The Treaty is called on to be made relevant to whatever issue a government wants – this time, with plant varieties and IP”

Calling for Bills to be read aloud is one stalling tactic – and in NZ we should brace for Maggie’s amendments

A reform bill aimed at further regulating the fossil fuel industry was seen as a certainty for passage in the American state of Colorado, where Democrats control both houses of the legislature and the governor’s office.

But wait.  Republicans, historically supported by the gas and oil industry and determined to stall its enactment, invoked a rule which entitles them to ask for bills to be read aloud on the Senate floor.

They used this device to require the reading aloud of a 2,000-page bill (unrelated to the energy bill).  It was estimated the reading would take some 60 hours.

Democrats read for nearly four hours before coming up with a plan:  they used five laptops to read the bill at an incomprehensible 650 words a minute, completing the task in a single day.

You can check out the incomprehensible consequences on YouTube. Continue reading “Calling for Bills to be read aloud is one stalling tactic – and in NZ we should brace for Maggie’s amendments”