Govt announces new transport and rental housing initiatives and enthuses about human rights (but without mentioning voting rights)

Buzz from the Beehive

The big announcement from the Beehive so far today is that workers and public transport users are at the heart of a new approach to public transport branded the Sustainable Public Transport Framework.

This is great news, although when you  take workers and public transport users out of considerations it is hard to find too many other interested parties, besides politicians and administrators.

Oh, wait.  Taxpayers and ratepayers, which accounts for most people, have a stake, too.  Their money funds the system and a major change is to allow councils to own and operate services in-house.

Transport Minister Michael Wood said the current model is causing operators to wind back services and timetables, because they can’t get drivers. Continue reading “Govt announces new transport and rental housing initiatives and enthuses about human rights (but without mentioning voting rights)”

Foot-and-mouth – the stock disease that could inflict a huge economic cost on our economy if Biosecurity defences fail

Ray Smith,  director-general  of  the  Ministry for Primary Industries,  sent  a  shiver  through  the  NZ  China  Summit in Auckland  when  he  warned  that  foot-and-mouth  disease  getting  into NZ   would  be  a  “scary”  and  a “gigantic thing”.

The  highly  contagious  disease has  been  sweeping  through Indonesia  and  since  it  was  first discovered  in  May  429,000 cases   have  been  identified    through  24   provinces  including Bali,  a  popular  holiday  destination  for many  New  Zealanders.

Indonesia  is  struggling  to  bring the  disease under  control, underlining  what  a problem  it  could  be  for NZ’s  main  export  industries.

The disease, which could cost the country billions of dollars and more than 100,000 jobs if it ran rampant among our livestock, is causing major concern in South Asia. After  the disease was discovered in Bali fragments of the virus that cause the disease have also been found in meat products entering Australia from Indonesia, creating fresh concerns about the possibility of it arriving in New Zealand. Continue reading “Foot-and-mouth – the stock disease that could inflict a huge economic cost on our economy if Biosecurity defences fail”

Govt gives each council another $350,000 (of our money) to get Three Waters flowing – and win their support for its coup

Buzz from the Beehive

Three Waters reforms – the subject of widespread disquiet around the country – was among the issues tackled by Ministers with new initiatives over the past 24 hours.

So too was the vexed issue of housing.

Hundreds of millions of dollars are being pumped into both problems. Or should that be “challenges”?

Housing Minister Megan Woods announced that not-for-profit groups looking to develop new rental homes for households on lower incomes that stay affordable over the long-term can apply for the first tranche of funding available from the $350 million Affordable Housing Fund announced in Budget 2022.

The first $50 million of this fund is devoted to rental developments for lower-income people who cannot afford a market rent but can’t access public housing, she explained. Continue reading “Govt gives each council another $350,000 (of our money) to get Three Waters flowing – and win their support for its coup”

Buzz from the Beehive: Pacific is discussed in PM’s chat with Biden while Nash has ‘Plan’ to transform manufacturing

This country’s relations with the Pacific were the subjects of two fresh statements from the Beehive and were mentioned in despatches from Washington, although nothing suggested Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta would be headed to look up our near neighbours any time soon.

Mahuta’s contribution was to announce the appointment of Don Higgins as the next Administrator of Tokelau.

“Aotearoa New Zealand is first and foremost a Pacific nation. We value the strong and enduring relationships that we have with countries throughout the region, and I know these will only continue to grow,” Nanaia Mahuta said. 

The Administrator’s role is to support the Tokelau Government to deliver quality public services to the people of Tokelau, and to help manage the relationship between our countries.

Higgins will also oversee New Zealand’s development assistance to Tokelau, which is focused on strengthening Tokelau’s resilience to climate change, and includes “major investments” in education, internet connectivity, and renewable energy. Continue reading “Buzz from the Beehive: Pacific is discussed in PM’s chat with Biden while Nash has ‘Plan’ to transform manufacturing”

Buzz from the Beehive: Good news about the war on Mycoplasma bovis – and the PM pops up with O’Connor to announce it

If the news was bad, we imagine it would have been left to Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor to do the announcing and he may well have stalled until Friday, when journalists and commentators are packing up for the weekend.  But the news in this case is good and – hey – guess who shared the platform with the Minister to announce it?

Why, none other than the PM. 

The announcement related to the world-first attempt to eradicate Mycoplasma bovis, agreed jointly between the Government and farming sector groups four years ago. Just one infected property remains in New Zealand.

Jacinda Ardern and Damien O’Connor marked the milestone at the national bulk milk testing lab MilkTestNZ in Waikato today alongside eradication partners DairyNZ and Beef + Lamb NZ.

“When we took our one shot to eradicate we did so to protect our national herd from a painful disease, our economy from a sharp shock, and our rural communities from widespread anxiety,” Jacinda Ardern said.

“Our partnership with the primary sector was critical. No one in the world had attempted to eradicate M. bovis before, and if we were going to try something that had never been done, we needed to do so together.”

The occasion gave O’Connor the opportunity to announce Budget 22’s  investment of $110.9 million into New Zealand’s biosecurity work

  • $42.9 million to bolster New Zealand’s biosecurity readiness for future incursions
  • $68 million over the coming year to continue the M. bovis eradication momentum
  • Protection of primary sector vital with exports forecast to hit record $50.8 billion for year-end 2022

Latest from the Beehive

5 MAY 2022

Travel trade show reconnects with Australia

A government-backed push to reconnect the tourism and travel industry with our largest market in Australia will see Tourism Minister Stuart Nash head to Sydney next week.

 Budget 22 investing in biosecurity for future economic security

The Government is strengthening New Zealand’s biosecurity system as part of Budget 2022 to help protect our vital primary sector and native flora and fauna.

 Joint M. bovis eradication plan reaches significant milestone

Four years into a world-first attempt to eradicate Mycoplasma bovis, agreed jointly between the Government and farming sector groups, just one infected property remains in New Zealand.

 Crown accounts reflect strong economy

The Crown accounts are continuing to reflect the strong position New Zealand is in to manage the challenging global environment, Grant Robertson said.

 

 

Buzz from the Beehive: No place to hide (at least, not if govt gets it right with money-laundering law changes)

The Government is intending to force the disclosure of the real owners of companies and limited partnerships with legislation to curb money laundering, tax evasion and terrorism financing.

Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister David Clark said the legislation – to be introduced later this year – will make it mandatory for the beneficial owners or controllers of companies and trusts to be identified.

Other announcements from the Beehive deal with …

  • Mental health: a recruitment campaign has been launched, targetting “the next generation of mental health nurses”.
  • Horticulture: public funding is being pumped into the trial of a new hydroponic growing technique that aims to have higher yields and a lower impact on the environment.
  • The war in Ukraine: New Zealand will provide a further $5 million contribution of “non-lethal military assistance” to support Ukraine and are making available a range of surplus defence equipment to share with Ukraine at their request.
  • Biosecurity: This year’s New Zealand Biosecurity Awards winners have been announced.

The Bill to “crack down” on global and domestic criminals who use businesses to hide money laundering, tax evasion and the financing of terrorism gel with the Government’s National Security Priorities to help identify threats, risks, and challenges to New Zealand’s security and wellbeing, David Clark said. Continue reading “Buzz from the Beehive: No place to hide (at least, not if govt gets it right with money-laundering law changes)”

Govt aims to keep “three strike” criminals out of the cooler but has increasingly warmed to making race a factor in research funding

Latest from the Beehive

The Government is running hot and cold on crime – in the eyes of its political opponents, at least.  One consequence will be keeping more offenders from being banged up in the coooler for too long.

Less ambivalently, it is turning up the heat in its efforts to tackle the country’s contribution to greenhouse gas emissions change while non-Maori and non-Pacifika applicants are feeling the chill when funding is distributed by the Health Research Council. 

On the law and order front, Police Minister Poto Williams is crowing about a Police operation which resulted in the seizure of more than 50 kilograms of cocaine, and $300,000 in cash, cocaine and cryptocurrency wallets.

Is the cocaine in the weight reference the same as the cocaine in the dollar-value reference? It is unclear.

Nine people were arrested. Continue reading “Govt aims to keep “three strike” criminals out of the cooler but has increasingly warmed to making race a factor in research funding”

Not all the millions offered by the Ardern govt have been accepted – let’s see how it fares with new law on aversion therapy

Several million dollars have been dished out for projects to build schools, control wilding pine control and what-have-you.

Nurses – on the other hand – have turned down the money they were offered.

In their case,  Health Minister Andrew Little is obviously bemused and frustrated.  

He was advised last night that Nurses Organisation members had voted to reject the latest proposal to settle their collective agreement.

“Let me be clear: the proposal was one they put to the Government. The Nurses Organisation rejected their own proposal,” he huffed this morning. 

We don’t expect the rejection of these announcements: Continue reading “Not all the millions offered by the Ardern govt have been accepted – let’s see how it fares with new law on aversion therapy”

Lees-Galloway gets his marching orders, the ministerial team gets a shake-up, but NZ First does not get Immigration

Latest from the Beehive

Hot off the press, as we were preparing this Beehive bulletin, came a statement from Iain Lees-Galloway which had not been posted on the Beehive website.   It came hard on the heels of a statement from the PM which announced Lees-Galloway has been dismissed and her ministerial team had been reshuffled.

Carmel Sepuloni will become the Minister for ACC, Andrew Little will become the Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety and Kris Faafoi will become Minister for Immigration.

New Zealand First will be disappointed.  Winston Peters at the weekend had declared his party’s special interest in the Immigration portfolio.

But what prompted the ministerial reshuffle?

It transpires the PM had been given cause to question the hapless Lees-Galloway and her Minister of Workplace Relations and Safety had confirmed a consensual relationship with someone who had previously worked in his office and had been based in one of the agencies in his ministerial bailiwick. Continue reading “Lees-Galloway gets his marching orders, the ministerial team gets a shake-up, but NZ First does not get Immigration”

No bull, but much bigger bucks have been budgeted to beat Mycoplasma bovis than for the govt’s Covid vaccine strategy

We’ve heard of people being treated like animals by the governments of some countries.  But two statements from the Beehive yesterday suggest the well-being of beasts – those that contribute to our export receipts, at least  – is much higher in government budget priorities than the well-being of people.

Our evidence?

 Exhibit one:  A statement from Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters, Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods,  and Health Minister David Clark.  They announced a COVID-19 vaccine strategy, which will enable New Zealand scientists to contribute to global research efforts and explore the potential of vaccine manufacturing capability in New Zealand.

Government has allocated $37 million to the strategy.

Exhibit two:  A statement from Agriculture and Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor, who referenced the latest technical data in showing progress on New Zealand’s world-first plan to eradicate the cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis.

He reminded us that two years ago the Government, DairyNZ and Beef + Lamb New Zealand and industry partners made a bold decision to go hard and commit funds to a 10-year programme to eradicate M. bovis to protect our most important sector and the economy.

The sum involved:  $880 million. Continue reading “No bull, but much bigger bucks have been budgeted to beat Mycoplasma bovis than for the govt’s Covid vaccine strategy”