Buzz from the Beehive
It’s the announcement we saw coming when Newshub revealed the Government was poised to announce a major change to banking, “which experts say will slash their profits”.
This news was broadcast as Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was adding her voice to the populist chorus of disapproval about those profits.
It so happened the government was working on a concept called “open banking”, whereby customers can move their bank accounts, direct debits and what-have-you between banks.
Simplicity CEO Sam Stubbs said this data sharing is common overseas, encourages competition and brings bank profits down. Whether crimping bank profits should be encouraged is open to question, but hey – the government has been taking a battering in political polls and most people reckon bankers are bastards. Continue reading “Clark enlightens us about open banking while Sio throws light (through a Maori world lens) on what once was blind justice” →
Buzz from the Beehive
Oh goody – an invitation to a trough which has been laden with twice as much largess this year because it was not available last year.
Inviting potential applicants to slurp at the $9.2 million swill, Acting Conservation Minister Meka Whaitiri described it as a fund for community-led efforts to protect threatened species and at-risk cultural heritage.
It has opened for applications today.
The Department of Conservation’s Community Fund this year is aligned with achieving the outcomes of the New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy and is divided into two streams:
- $7.2 million for biodiversity projects that reduce the extinction risk of priority threatened species or protect priority ecosystems
- $2 million to protect cultural heritage sites and maintain visitor infrastructure in the backcountry.
Continue reading “DoC doubles the dip for doing good to biodiversity and heritage sites – that means $9.2m will be distributed” →
Two statements with implications for investors and the health of our economy have emerged from the Beehive, along with announcements on publicly funded overseas travel plans and a report on the outcome of a recent ministerial journey to Geneva.
It was not immediately apparent that the announcements affecting financial investment were compatible. One was the launch of New Zealand’s Sovereign Green Bond Programme, providing the opportunity to invest in projects that contribute to climate and environmental objectives. The other deals with the capital restructuring of Fonterra, the giant cooperative which operates in a sector which environmentalists want to handicap with more regulations.
Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor announced an Amendment Bill has been introduced to Parliament, assuring us it
“… will provide greater economic security for New Zealanders by supporting Fonterra’s move to a new capital structure which will reduce long-term risks to New Zealand’s $22.1 billion dairy sector”.
In other words, this is big deal. Continue reading “Scheme to encourage “green” investment is launched while O’Connor hails importance of Bill dealing with Fonterra’s funding” →
Buzz from the Beehive
Safety and security were the common theme in the latest statements – just two – from The Beehive.
The first – headed Call for New Zealanders to get on-board with rail safety – tells us this is Rail Safety Week.
Transport Minister Michael Wood grabbed the opportunity to maintain there is a need for a renewed focus on rail safety because …
Wait for it
Because additional trains are operating across the network,
“… powered by the Government’s investment in rail.”
We trust this is an environmentally friendly power source.
The second announcement came from Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta, thankfully – but all too briefly – focussing on matters other than Three Waters and local government electoral rearrangements. Continue reading “Focus on safety and security – Mahuta tackles the Myanmar menace while Wood warns of the danger from more trains” →
Buzz from the Beehive
New Zealand’s relationships with China, the ASEAN countries and Samoa were embraced by speeches and announcements that flowed from the Beehive after Disarmament Minister Phil Twyford had delivered his Statement to the 2022 Review Conference for the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.
Trade Minister Damien O’Connor addressed the China Business Summit, Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta departed for the Indo-Pacific region for a programme of talks on security and economic issues, and the PM announced the launch of a new climate change partnership with Samoa and confirmed support for the rebuild of the capital’s main market.
The PM’s announcements were accompanied by $15 million to support Samoa’s response to climate change and $12 million toward the rebuild of the Savalalo Market in Apia
Ministers with a domestic focus meanwhile were getting on with telling us about their legislative and regulatory agendas and other programmes.
A major item was the launch today of New Zealand’s first National Adaptation Plan, designed to ensure communities have the information and support they need to prepare for the impacts of climate change.
But our lives will also be affected – for better or worse – by:- Continue reading “Recovering our relationships with China, ASEAN and Samoa while grappling with climate change and protecting the kauri” →
Good trade news has flowed from the office of Damien O’Connor in the form of a report showing how this country’s high-tech exports are faring in the United States. But much better in terms of the immediate economic boost was news from the PM that the Government is bringing forward the date for opening the border to tourists in time for the Australian school holidays.
Accompanying this, Tourism Minister Stuart Nash announced a new tourism marketing campaign is being launched in Australia this week to build demand for travel here.
Nash’s statement gave no hint of the costs involved. It did say:
- Historically, 71 per cent of all international tourists who came to ski have been Australians, who generated more than $211 million in winter spending; and
- The government will keep rolling out direct investment from its two tourism support packages worth $600 million in targeted spending. Further details are due shortly.
These announcements were timely. The latest official statistics today show the seasonally adjusted current account deficit widened to $6.5 billion in the December 2021 quarter, from $4.7 billion in the September 2021 quarter. Continue reading “Buzz from the Beehive – PM broadcasts a bulletin about the breakdown of border barriers to boost tourist businesses” →
Three of the latest Beehive announcements pertain to this country’s relationships with countries in South-east and East Asia, giving pointers to our foreign affairs geopolitical priorities.
One statement signalled “a suite of meetings” between Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta and her ASEAN and East Asia Summit counterparts, starting with the 11th East Asia Summit (EAS) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting last night.
Mahuta said she would be urging action on Myanmar and she said tensions in the South China Sea continue to be a concern for New Zealand.
Another statement hailed the opening of the New Zealand High Commission in Colombo next week.
And then there was the announcement of an increase in New Zealand Defence Force commitment to the United Nations Command in the Republic of Korea and its Military Armistice Commission.
Moreover, the mandate for New Zealand’s longstanding deployment to the Republic of Korea has been extended to August 2023. The NZDF has contributed the United Nations Command and its Military Armistice Commission since 1998. Continue reading “NZ is beefing up its defence commitment to UN work in South Korea (a reminder that the Korean War has not technically ended)” →
Fresh from his stint as acting PM, Winston Peters was back on the diplomatic circuit with a heavy schedule of talks in Singapore last week.
Though North Korea was top of the agenda, Peters made progress on key issues for New Zealand, in particular over his own “Pacific re-set” and on the sensitive issue of the US imposing tariffs on NZ steel and aluminium. He had an intense bilateral session with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo which included the tariff issue.
He subsequently described the discussion with Pompeo as “excellent” but on the tariff issue would say only Pompeo is “acutely aware” and “on the case”.
But the signal (partly because the volumes are relatively small) is that NZ might get the exemption which Australia has already won. Continue reading “Tariff talks with US were on the agenda as Peters returns to the diplomatic circuit” →