Buzz from the Beehive: O’Connor should win farmer plaudits for action against Canada but lose them for new high-country law

Our ministers have been variously focused on issues involving New Zealand’s foreign relationships – a rebuke for Russia, Covid vaccines for poorer countries and the pursuit of a trade dispute with Canada – and the regulation of activities in space.

Coming back to earth in the high country, legislation has been passed to overhaul the management of 1.2 million hectares of Crown pastoral land.

On the Covid front, the government is providing an updated My Vaccine Pass from 24 May, has  released data on Government funding dished out to support organisations, jobs and livelihoods in the arts and culture sector, and is updating its Care in the Community response as the number of households needing support to safely self-isolate with COVID-19 reduces.

As Land Information Minister, Damien O’Connor can expect criticism  from high country farmers after the Crown Pastoral Land Reform Bill passed its third reading (visit the Parliament website).

The Nats say they will repeal the changes effected by the new law in its next term of government, maintaining they effectively end a decades-old relationship between the Crown and high country pastoral leaseholders.

Leaseholders who have been effective custodians of this land for generations will be subjected to a punitive regime devoid of any knowledge of practical implementation, the Nats say.  Environmental outcomes worsen rather than improve.

As Trade and Export Growth Minister, on the other hand, O’Connor is behind New Zealand’s initiation of dispute settlement proceedings against Canada regarding its implementation of dairy tariff rate quotas (TRQs) under the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

New Zealand considers Canada’s dairy TRQs to be inconsistent with its obligations under CPTPP, impeding New Zealand exporters from fully benefiting from the market access that was negotiated under the agreement.

Latest from the Beehive

13 MAY 2022

Aotearoa New Zealand provides further funding for global COVID-19 response

Aotearoa New Zealand is providing more funding to the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator for global efforts to respond to the pandemic.

Updated My Vaccine Pass for those who want it

New Zealanders who are up-to-date with their COVID-19 vaccinations will be able to download an updated My Vaccine Pass from 24 May.

Crown Pastoral Land Reform Bill passes third reading

New legislation to modernise the management of 1.2 million hectares of Crown pastoral land primarily in the South Island high country was passed in Parliament today.

Aotearoa New Zealand condemns Russia’s malicious cyber activity against Ukraine

Aotearoa New Zealand strongly condemns the campaign of destructive cyber activity by Russia against Ukraine, alongside the EU and international partners, Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced today.

Next steps signalled for space activity laws

The Government has released a review of the operation and effectiveness of the law controlling commercial space activities, and signalled a separate study on wider issues of space policy will begin later this year.

New Zealand initiates dispute settlement proceedings against Canada’s implementation of dairy quotas under CPTPP

New Zealand has initiated dispute settlement proceedings against Canada regarding its implementation of dairy tariff rate quotas (TRQs) under the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

Care in the Community pivots as NZ returns to greater normality

The Government is updating its Care in the Community (CiC) response as the number of households needing support to safely self-isolate with COVID-19 reduces.

Government’s support delivers path to recovery for arts and culture sector

The Government has today released data for three key Government support funds which were designed to support organisations, jobs and peoples livelihoods in the arts and culture sector.

Buzz from the Beehive – and (from our “jobs for retiring MPs” file) look where Louisa is headed …

Here’s what our Ministers have been up to (at least, what they have proclaimed, announced or disclosed in press statements) since we last reported …

8 APRIL 2022

New Zealand to release more oil stocks

New Zealand will release 483,000 barrels from its emergency oil stocks as part of additional action by International Energy Agency member countries in response to the ongoing global impact on energy security after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, says Energy and Resources Minister Dr Megan Woods.

Government takes action to give Arts and Culture sector certainty

The Government is extending the Arts and Culture Event Support Scheme to cover new and recurring events from 15 June 2022 to 31 January 2023.

 7 APRIL 2022

Louisa Wall appointed Pacific Gender Equality Ambassador

Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta today announced the appointment of Louisa Wall as Ambassador for Gender Equality (Pacific)/Tuia Tāngata.

Enhanced Task Force Green Approved for Tairāwhiti and Wairoa regions

The Government has activated Enhanced Taskforce Green in response to flooding in the Tairāwhiti and Wairoa regions.

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”

Child care and protection is in for a shake-up but Davis accepts there will still be a need (“as a last resort”) for the state to intervene

A damning review has found that Oranga Tamariki is a “weak, disconnected and unfit” agency – and the Government says it will cease the controversial tactic of child uplifts.

So says NZ Herald political reporter Michael Neilson in the first paragraph of his account of the shake-up in store for the beleaguered Orangi Tamariki child welfare agency.

The Government has accepted all recommendations from the Ministerial Advisory Board which was set up earlier this year to provide advice on how to fix the country’s child care and protection system.

But the press statement from Kelvin Davis does not portend an end to the “uplifts” of children who need to be protected from their parents or care-givers.  

It does say:

Changes will see a major shift in decision making and resources at a local level, empowering communities to work together with Oranga Tamariki in the prevention of harm against children.

Oranga Tamariki has also been given a clear direction that uplifts, or without notice orders, should only be used as a last resort. Continue reading “Child care and protection is in for a shake-up but Davis accepts there will still be a need (“as a last resort”) for the state to intervene”

We should brace for the boiler ban – but $22.88m has been handed out to help businesses decarbonise

Our Beehive bulletin

The Government’s ban on new low and medium temperature coal-fired boilers and partnering with the private sector to help it transition away from fossil fuels perhaps ranked as the most important Beehive announcement yesterday.

It was the first major announcement to follow the release of the Climate Commission’s draft package of advice to Government in February and was accompanied by the distribution of dollops of corporate welfare to  the successful applicants in round one of the Government Investment in Decarbonising Industry Fund.

Fourteen companies will receive $22.88m in co-funding to help their businesses transition away from fossil fuels.

The ban on new coal boilers used in manufacturing and production will come into effect by 31 December.

A consultation document for other coal proposals can be found on the Ministry for the Environment website.

The energy announcement was one of several to emerge during a busy day in the Beehive, many of them enabling Ministers to bray about the big bucks (or small ones) they were throwing around. Continue reading “We should brace for the boiler ban – but $22.88m has been handed out to help businesses decarbonise”

Govt gives career boost to people in the creation business – but those in the conversion business will be banned

Our Beehive Bulletin … 

The price tag was left out of the announcement, when Carmel Sepuloni, Minister of Arts, Culture and Heritage and Minister of Social Development, launched a Creative Careers Service which is expected to support up to 1,000 creatives across three regions over the next two years.

The new service builds on the most successful aspects of the former Pathways to Arts and Cultural Experience (PACE) programme, she said.

Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage and the Ministry for Social Development have partnered to pilot the service.

Sepuloni’s announcement was one of three new posts on the Beehive website since last we checked.  The others are –

  • The PM’s speech to National Remembrance Service on the 10th anniversary of the Christchurch earthquake
  • Justice Minister Kris Faafoi reaffirmed the Government’s “urgent commitment” (as stated in its 2020 Election Manifesto) to ban “conversion practices” in New Zealand by this time next year.

Conversion practices?

We suppose Faafoi is not gunning for missionaries trying to convert heathens to Christianity or environmentalists trying to convert motorists from petrol-powered vehicles to electric ones (or, even better, to walking and cycling) or Labour politicians trying to convert Maori Party voters for support at the next election.     

But the press statement is somewhat coy about the conversion practices that are being urgently addressed and it does not clearly explain who will be banned from doing what.  Continue reading “Govt gives career boost to people in the creation business – but those in the conversion business will be banned”

A day later, the culture sector and farmers (some, anyway) get a second helping of public funding

 Just a day after announcing financial help for the culture community and for farmers, the Beehive brought news of even more money for those groups.

In the case of the farmers, mind you, the help is focused on just one region.  The Government is investing $844,000 in King Country River Care, a group that helps farmers to lift freshwater quality and farming practice.

This followed the announcement on Wednesday of a $700 million fund that will create jobs in riparian and wetland planting, removing sediments and other initiatives to prevent farm run off entering waterways. The fund is for the primary sector, iwi/Māori, local government and their communities.

The creative sector learned the government has set up a jobseekers programme and four new funds to help the arts and music industry recover from the blow of COVID-19.

This is intended to support thousands of jobs with a $175 million package, a sum described as “a crucial economic boost to support the arts and creative sector”, which contributes nearly $11 billion a year to GDP, employs 90,000 people and supports the wellbeing of communities.

According to the details the government is offering: Continue reading “A day later, the culture sector and farmers (some, anyway) get a second helping of public funding”

The Beehive pumps out more millions – some of it for the cultural sector but a bigger lump to clean up waterways

Creative Kiwis and cockies are among the beneficiaries of government decisions announced yesterday.

The creative crowd was given support amounting to $95 million (or so), announced by Prime Minister and Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Jacinda Ardern, who said thousands of artists and creatives at hundreds of cultural and heritage organisations have been given much-needed support to recover from the impact of COVID-19.

“The cultural sector was amongst the worst hit by the global pandemic,” Jacinda Ardern said.

The grand total was not highlighted in the press statement but these numbers help us work it out  –

$25 million for Creative New Zealand

$1.4 million for the Antarctic Heritage Trust

$11.364 million to Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga

$18 million for the Museum of New Zealand Te papa Tongarewa

$2 million for the Museum Hardship Fund to be administered by Te Papa

Services

$31.8 million for Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision (including funding to prevent the loss of the audio and visual collection which is rapidly deteriorating)

$2.03 million for Royal New Zealand Ballet

$4 million for Waitangi National Trust Board Continue reading “The Beehive pumps out more millions – some of it for the cultural sector but a bigger lump to clean up waterways”