A bit of a break for big business (via a quick testing deal) but the Nats are niggling about neglect of businesses that are struggling

While the government was bringing good news to  big business – a few of our biggest companies, anyway – National’s Small Business and Tourism spokesperson, Todd McClay, was out batting for small businesses.

The good news was that a “coalition of around 25 businesses across a range of sectors” has been granted an exemption by the Director-General of Health to import and use approved rapid antigen tests.  The number of businesses involved is curiously imprecise.

Radio NZ presumably asked for the names of the companies involved (they aren’t listed in the ministerial press statement) and more specifically reported that “a coalition of 25 firms” was involved, although this suggests it didn’t list them all in its online report:

Companies taking part in the trial: Mainfreight, Foodstuffs North Island, Genesis, Hynds Pipe Systems, Mercury, Summerset Group, Wellington Airport, Christchurch Airport, Sky NZ, Queenstown Airport, Spark, Vodafone, The Warehouse Group, ANZ Bank, Contact Energy, Fulton Hogan, Countdown/Woolworths NZ, Fletcher Building, Carter Holt Harvey, Meridian Energy, DHL Express NZ, Air NZ and Auckland Airport.

But let’s not quibble.  The aim is to quicken the pace of Covid-19 testing among the companies’ workers, no bad thing.

The chosen businesses have signed up to a charter with MBIE and the Ministry of Health, committing to work together and share insights to inform any wider roll-out of rapid antigen testing to other work sites.

Todd McClay’s concern, on the other hand, was that businesses all over the country are in “dire, dire trouble” as half the North Island remains in sustained Level 3 lockdowns. Continue reading “A bit of a break for big business (via a quick testing deal) but the Nats are niggling about neglect of businesses that are struggling”

Mahuta welcomes report which portends the local authority reforms (and Treaty partnerships) she seems keen to promote

The announcement we were expecting yesterday came later in the day, but not from the PM.  Rather, it came from Ayesha Verrall, Associate Minister of Health and Research, Science and Innovation, who said government and businesses are working together to pilot the use of rapid antigen testing in workplaces.

But readers who believe that all citizens in a democracy should have the same entitlements and voting rights and the same ability to hold to account the people who govern us should look beyond Covid to another threat.

Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta has welcomed the interim report on the Future for Local Government Review.

In her press statement, she says

“.. our system of local democracy and governance needs to evolve to be fit for the future.” 

You could say it has been fast evolving already (or eroding, perhaps) on Mahuta’s watch in the local government portfolio. She has been instrumental in

  • removing the rights of citizens to challenge electoral arrangements which displease them, such as the introduction of Maori wards by local council;  and
  • pushing on with the highly contentious Three Waters reforms, which include arrangements for Maori to become co-governors (unaccountable to the majority of citizens) of four new water-administering authorities.

Continue reading “Mahuta welcomes report which portends the local authority reforms (and Treaty partnerships) she seems keen to promote”