McAnulty mentions “democracy” as he braces to meet local authority leaders – and maybe he will dive into Three Waters issues

Buzz from the Beehive

Amidst a raft of statements that crow about government achievements and/or bray about new initiatives, Point of Order found an oddity:  a statement from the newly minted Associate Minister of Local Government who intends to meet local government leaders around the country to talk about this, that and …

Well, surely he will want to talk (if not listen) about Three Waters and explain the influence that will be wielded by the sister of his colleague,  Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta,

But the press statement only hinted that  Three Waters would be on the agenda.

The crowing and braying statements, of course, were much less puzzling. Continue reading “McAnulty mentions “democracy” as he braces to meet local authority leaders – and maybe he will dive into Three Waters issues”

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”

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”

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?”

Check out the order of matters discussed by Ardern and Albanese: deportations from Australia were “also” on the agenda

Buzz from the Beehive

New Zealand’s relationships with other countries have been a feature of an outpouring of press statements and speeches from the Beehive over the past 24 hours.

The PM checked in from overseas, the Minister of Trade is headed overseas,  the Associate Minister of Foreign Affairs addressed a bunch of diplomats from overseas, the Minister of Workplace Relations and Safety brayed about a ruling from overseas, and (a second statement from him) the Minister of Trade brandished a report from overseas.

The most important of those was the press release after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese held their first bilateral meeting in Sydney.

The most contentious issue on the agenda – and the matter of most interest to news media in this country – was mentioned almost as an afterthought: Continue reading “Check out the order of matters discussed by Ardern and Albanese: deportations from Australia were “also” on the agenda”

Govt action against climate change includes pouring millions into troughs and inviting private sector to line up for a slurp

Buzz from the Beehive

Foreign affairs, agriculture, health and transport are among the burning issues which have been keeping our ministers, their policy advisers and their press secretaries busy in recent days.  Inviting oinkers to new freshly filled troughs was on the agenda, too.

Ministers had issued 13 new press statements when Point of Order checked this morning.  At time of writing the number of new statements had increased to 16, on subjects ranging from the agriculture sector’s agenda for dealing with climate change to the race-fixated restructuring of the health system.

On the foreign affairs front, Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta was announcing additional sanctions on Russian state-owned enterprises and defence entities in response to the ongoing brutality in Ukraine, the PM was announcing a visit here this month by Samoa Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mataʻafa 60 years after the Treaty of Friendship between the two countries was signed, and the PM was further announcing she will travel to Sydney this week for “an in-person meeting” with new Australian Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese. Continue reading “Govt action against climate change includes pouring millions into troughs and inviting private sector to line up for a slurp”

NZ Herald regards NZ and China as allies – but this doesn’t gel with the PM saying our allegiances are with like-minded countries

“Nothing like  a  trip abroad   to  put  a  spring in the  PM’s  step” – or so said the  sub-heading  on  a  report  in  the   NZ  Herald   on  Saturday  of Jacinda  Ardern’s  visit  to  the United  States, a  visit  which  by  most accounts  was  successful  in its  primary   aim of reviving contacts with  both  political  and  business  leaders.

Political editor Claire Trevett put it aptly:

“NZ was looking for new growth in its relationship with the US after the pause of the Trump era”.

New Zealanders, too, were chuffed at  the  success  of  the  PM’s  mission,  her  popularity  with  the  Americans  she met,  and  especially her chat with President  Joe  Biden.  The applause she won for her address at Harvard University in itself  was  remarkable, and   probably  stimulated  Trevett  to  note that:

“The Ardern in the US was a stark contrast to the Ardern we have seen in New Zealand in recent months”.

So, will  we  see Ardern back  at the  top  of  her  form,  now  she  is home  again? Continue reading “NZ Herald regards NZ and China as allies – but this doesn’t gel with the PM saying our allegiances are with like-minded countries”

Buzz from the Beehive: Aussie PM is congratulated, US trade mission is announced, and a quintet gives war criminals cause to quaver

The country’s international relationships have loomed large in Beehive announcements since Friday.

One press statement – from the PM – congratulated Anthony Albanese and the Australian Labor Party on winning the Australian Federal election.  Jacinda Ardern said:

“Australia is our most important partner, our only official ally and single economic market relationship, and I believe our countries will work even more closely together in these tumultuous times.”

Ardern hopes to meet Albanese “in the near future” and looks forward to working with him on a range of issues including supporting New Zealanders living in Australia, making trans-Tasman business even easier, deepening our partnership with our close friends in the Pacific, and advancing our interests on the world stage.

A statement this morning announced the PM will lead a trade mission to the United States this week to support export growth and the return of tourists post COVID-19. Continue reading “Buzz from the Beehive: Aussie PM is congratulated, US trade mission is announced, and a quintet gives war criminals cause to quaver”

Aussie election result result opens the way for a revitalisation of the Anzac partnership

Australia’s  election,  thrusting  the ALP  and  its leader Anthony Albanese  back  into  a  governing  role, offers  the Ardern government a fresh  opportunity  to blow  the  cobwebs  off the  Anzac partnership.

During  the  last  years  of the Liberal era,  the once-strong Trans-Tasman relationship appeared  to  cool.  Australia’s deportation policy under   the  notorious  501  provision  of  its  immigration law has  become a sore  point  and  the  Liberal government under  Scott  Morrison planned  to increase  the flow  of  Kiwi deportees, much  to  Wellington’s chagrin.

Australia and NZ share similar goals  in  trade and defence, but these, too, need a fresh polish.  The world during the Covid  era  has  been changing  rapidly, and now the Russian invasion of Ukraine has created  a deep tension in global relationships.

China – in  signing a pact with the  Solomon Islands that  will  enable it to establish  a  base  in that territory – has shaken both NZ  and  Australia  out of  their Pacific  complacency.

In the John Key  era, the Trans-Tasman  relationship had  a  warm  glow  to  it,  even  when the  ALP  had  command  in  Canberra. There  was never  any  doubt  that  Australia and  NZ  marched  in  lockstep on  issues  of  mutual interest. Continue reading “Aussie election result result opens the way for a revitalisation of the Anzac partnership”

What should Peeni Henare wear for Defence talks with Peter Dutton? A flak jacket, perhaps

On his  first  mission abroad   as  Defence  Minister, Peeni Henare  says he  is  seeking to “regenerate New Zealand’s  defence  force readiness and  capability in  a  post-Covid  world”.

In  that  phrase he (in effect) underlines  how   heavily  committed  defence elements  have been in  their  various  roles  during the prolonged  pandemic.  It  will  be   with  relief    that  those  forces can  now  get  back  to  what  they enlisted to be.

But  Henare   now  has  to  get  to  grips  with the vital  role  of  securing  NZ’s  defences –  as  NZ   always  has done – with its  allies  and partners, particularly with his  Pacific  focus.

After   talks  in  Fiji on  how best to support Pacific partners to work together to provide solutions to the region’s challenges, he  goes  on to Australia which  is New Zealand’s only formal defence ally and one of its closest security and bilateral partners.

There  he  is  to hold talks  with  the  formidable  Peter  Dutton. Continue reading “What should Peeni Henare wear for Defence talks with Peter Dutton? A flak jacket, perhaps”