Davidson posts a press statement on housing (hurrah) but Nash is quiet about the role of animism in vision for the tourist industry

Our Beehive bulletin

There was great excitement in the Point of Order office this morning when one of the team checked the emails.  He bellowed the news to his colleagues as if it were a headline:  “Davidson breaks her duck”.

Yep.  She had runs on the board, if you regard her Beehive website as the official scoreboard for this sort of thing.  .

Our excitement almost distracted us from other Beehive news, including the welcoming of a Tourism Futures Taskforce report which sets out a long-term vision and direction.

It emphasises the need to prioritise sustainable tourism that enhances community wellbeing, tourism Minister Stuart Nash said.

In fact it does much more than that by promoting a fundamental cultural and spiritual transformation – social engineering is another way of putting it – for the tourism sector.  For example:

“We have Mauri – we carry a life force that connects all living things. Our Mauri is what binds us to the land.”  

In other words, the future of the tourist industry should be based on animism, or the belief that objects, places, and creatures all possess a distinct spiritual essence.

And where did the taskforce get that idea? The report makes no secret of the answer:

“This is a taskforce and report that from day one has been inspired by the Te Ao Māori perspective. The wisdom and guidance received from Māori leadership has been incredibly significant to the thinking along the journey towards these recommendations”.

Nash has already signalled the industry is about to undergo a transformation, as the government prepares for borders to re-open and international visitors to return when it is safe.

The Taskforce report is HERE. 

In other news from the Beehive:

  • Conservation Minister Kiri Allan declared the North Island kokako has been brought back from the brink of extinction. Protection of this species began in the late 1990s, after the kōkako population dropped to as few as 330 breeding pairs – around 1000 individual birds –scattered across the North Island.  There are now 2000 breeding pairs.
  • Three ministerial speeches have been delivered (see below for further information).

As we said, these posts were crowded out in our considerations by what seemed to be the triumph of Marama Davidson getting runs on the board.

But not only did we find a record of the statement that had been emailed to us this morning, when we visited the website.  We found records of other announcements and speeches in Davidson’s name  –

Release

26 MARCH 2021

$4M to reduce homelessness in five locations

Associate Housing Minister Marama Davidson today announced funding support for new initiatives that will prevent and reduce homelessness in Whangarei, Auckland, Napier/Hastings, Rotorua and the Hutt Valley.

 Speech

15 MARCH 2021

Speech to the 65th United Nations Commission on the Status of Women Side Event, March 15 2021

Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā tātou katoa.

Release

24 FEBRUARY 2021

Government delivers 1,000 more transitional housing places

The Government has added 1,000 more transitional housing places as promised under the Aotearoa New Zealand Homelessness Action Plan (HAP), launched one year ago.

 Speech

28 NOVEMBER 2020

Opening Address, Pacific Women’s Watch (New Zealand) Annual Conference on Disability – Creating a level playing field between ALL women in Aotearoa New Zealand

One of the greatest opportunities to improve the wellbeing of New Zealanders is to reduce New Zealand’s high rates of violence and ultimately to reduce and stop family violence

We are sure we found nothing on the site when we looked just a few days ago, prompted by a question in the House, and reported we had found a blank slate.

But maybe we were wrong – and maybe Davidson has been wronged by critics who question what she has achieved (although Davidson could take lessons from Kiri Allan on how to keep the press up with the play with a steady flow of press releases).

Her announcement today was the allocation of more than $4 million of funding support for new initiatives intended to prevent and reduce homelessness in Whangarei, Auckland, Napier/Hastings, Rotorua and the Hutt Valley.

This is the first round of funding from the Government’s $16.6 million Local Innovation and Partnership Fund, which is a key part of our Homelessness Action Plan.

The fund allows Government to partner with local providers or organisations who are doing innovative work to reduce homelessness in their area.

It also allows the government to pitch for political support among Maori and gays.

As Davidson said:

“The initiatives funded in this first round have a strong focus on Māori, rangatahi and the rainbow community.

“They offer new and tailored strategies to disrupt the cycle of homelessness for communities experiencing discrimination and isolation.”

For example, one of the recipients, Rainbow YOUTH, will partner with the housing and homelessness sector in Auckland to reduce the barriers LGBTQIA+ face when accessing mainstream housing services. Another, a partnership between Te Taiwhenua o Heretaunga Trust and Whatever It Takes in Hastings, Napier will provide support, positive relationships and connection using tikanga Māori to help people who have experienced long-term homelessness and move people into permanent housing.

Round two of the Local Innovation and Partnership Fund is expected to open in mid-2021.

The full list of successful applicants for round one funding is below.

Successful Local Innovation and Partnership Fund grant recipients

Latest from the Beehive

26 MARCH 2021

Taskforce emphasises sustainable tourism

Milestone for kōkako as population soars

$4M to reduce homelessness in five locations

25 MARCH 2021

Speech

Third Reading Speech – Local Government (Rating of Whenua Māori) Amendment Bill

Speech

2021 ANZSOG First Peoples conference final session speech

 Speech

Learning Support Coordinators forum – Speech

Public health, water infrastructure and te ao Māori (as well as governance) went into the mix when Mahuta named water authority

Our Beehive Bulletin … 

With the Maori wards issue taken care of through legislation rushed egregiously into law under urgency, control of the country’s water supply is high on the agenda for action by champions of the treaty “partnership”.

Ngāti Kahungunu and Ngāi Tahu have joined forces in proceedings against the Crown, seeking “rangatiratanga” over freshwater in their respective areas.

Rangatiratanga – according to the Stuff report –  has a wide number of meanings, covering everything from leadership to authority to autonomy.  Citizens should be braced for whatever interpretation is put on this when the courts make a ruling.

More immediately, the government has announced its appointments to the inaugural board of its water services regulator, established as part of major water reforms.

Appointees with Ngati Kahungunu and Ngai Tahu ancestry are among the seven people named.

Among other bulletins from the Beehive: Continue reading “Public health, water infrastructure and te ao Māori (as well as governance) went into the mix when Mahuta named water authority”

Now we know (roughly) the cost of a day off for Matariki – and for good measure the Govt will be changing the Holidays Act

Our Beehive Bulletin … 

When our kindly PM announced 24 June 2022 will be the date for New Zealand’s first official celebration of Matariki, she didn’t mention the cost – at least, not that we recall.   But this week we learned from ACT leader David Seymour that estimates included in official advice to the Government are somewhat eye-watering for the businesses that must pick up the tab.

Mind you, the Government hasn’t finished burdening employers with holiday obligations, although it says it is doing them a big favour by accepting all of 22 recommended changes to the Holidays Act made by the Holidays Act Taskforce.  Just to make things clear, you understand.

News of this was among the latest announcements from the Beehive which – for the record – includes a big tick of approval for the government from the Standard & Poors credit ratings agency.

New data on child poverty are the subject of a post, too (although these don’t show the impact of Covid, which can only have exacerbated inequities). Continue reading “Now we know (roughly) the cost of a day off for Matariki – and for good measure the Govt will be changing the Holidays Act”

What’s up, DoC, and how will we be affected? The answers may lie in strategy documents on the ministry’s website

Latest from the Beehive

One Minister has been accounting for the Government’s fiscal performance and stronger money flows than had been forecast; another is counting (we assume) on good things resulting from the new strategy she has announced…

The first minister referenced here is Finance Minister Grant Robertson, who (yet again) is braying about the government’s books being in better shape than forecast.

The second, Conservation Minister Kiri Allen, announced the Department of Conservation’s new Heritage and Visitor Strategy

” … is fully focused on protecting and enhancing the value of New Zealand’s natural, cultural and historic heritage, while also promoting a sustainable environmental experience. “

Allen was clear enough when she looked back:

“It has been a quarter of a century since DOC first developed a visitor strategy. Things have obviously changed quite a bit since then.

“Along with a significant increase in New Zealanders visiting conservation areas, there has been rapid growth and fluctuation in the numbers of international visitors as well as changes in how people want to get into nature and connect with New Zealand’s heritage.”

Yep.  Got that.

And we won’t quibble with her claim that: Continue reading “What’s up, DoC, and how will we be affected? The answers may lie in strategy documents on the ministry’s website”

Govt’s fancy footwork on climate change will bedazzle you (but critics who want to hear the specifics may be disappointed)

Three Ministers, led by the PM, joined in chorus today to warble about a bunch of measures aimed at helping to meet New Zealand’s 2050 carbon neutral target, create new jobs and boost innovation.

Mind you, the measures mentioned seem to be more matters of decisions yet to be made rather than anything to take effect now or next week – or even next month.

Other Ministers had something more immediate to deliver:

  • The Government is investing up to $10 million to support 30 of the country’s top early-career researchers to develop their research skills. The MBIE Science Whitinga Fellowship will provide each successful researcher with a one-off fellowship worth $320,000 over two years to help them grow and develop their research skills in New Zealand.
  • A $500,000 Waitomo-based Jobs for Nature project will keep up to ten people employed in the village as the tourism sector recovers post Covid-19. The worekrs will undertake local track maintenance and improve the Ruakuri bush walk and scenic reserve “and other culturally significant areas.”
  • Minister for Climate Change James Shaw has spoken with President Biden’s Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry. He told Kerry he was pleased that one of President Biden’s first actions was to re-join the Paris Agreement.
  • Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced three diplomatic appointments:  Alana Hudson as Ambassador to Poland; John Riley as Consul-General to Hong Kong; Stephen Wong as Consul-General to Shanghai.

But let’s get back to the PM’s song and dance act, backed by the Beehive Bugle Brigade.

The programme notes brayed Government moves on climate promises.

And – wow – you couldn’t help but be bedazzled by the almost frenzied footwork.  The Riverdance crew could only be envious:

  • The Government’s “is delivering on its first tranche of election promises to take action on climate change”, and
  • “This will be an ongoing area of action but we are moving now to implement key election promises”, and
  • “We will receive further advice and recommendations mid-year from the Climate Commission but we are cracking on with this work now.”

The PM then trilled about transport making up our second highest amount of emissions after agriculture “so it’s important we reduce emissions from our vehicle fleet”.

“Tackling climate change is a priority for the Government and remains a core part of our COVID recovery plan. We can create jobs and economic opportunities while reducing our emissions, so it’s win-win for our economy and climate.

“We will be finalising our first three carbon budgets later this year following advice from the independent Climate Change Commission, which the Government receives mid-year.

Must we wait much longer for a chart-topping hit? 

Alas, yes.  

“The Commission’s advice is likely to ask a lot of all of us and require action in all sectors.

“Today’s announcement is a good step towards what needs to be done,” Jacinda Ardern said.

At that juncture Transport Minister Michael Wood stepped up to contribute his solo:

 “We’re making progress to reduce emissions by investing significantly more in public transport, rail, costal shipping and walking and cycling – but there is more to do,” said Transport Minister Michael Wood.

“Our Government has agreed in principle to mandate a lower emitting biofuel blend across the transport sector. Over time this will prevent hundreds of thousands of tonnes of emissions from cars, trucks, trains, ships and planes.”

But an agreement in principle doesn’t actually amount to action – does it?

So what else?

“There are economic opportunities for New Zealand in strengthening our clean green brand, encouraging innovation and creating jobs. It will also help our economic recovery. A biofuel mandate has the potential to create jobs and boost the economy through encouraging a local industry.

“Officials will consult with the public and stakeholders to help the Government decide on a way forward before the end of the year.”

In other words, we haven’t got to the consulting stage yet.

“We’re also committing $50 million to help councils fully decarbonise the public transport bus fleet by 2035. By meeting our target to decarbonise the bus fleet, we can prevent up to 4.5 million tonnes of CO2 emissions, which will make an important contribution towards meeting our climate targets,” Michael Wood said.

Actually, we recall this was announced in October last year.

But let’s hear him out:

“We’re moving quickly to introduce a Clean Car Import Standard to reduce emissions and Kiwis’ fuel costs. Legislation will be passed this year and the standard will begin next year, with the 105 grams of CO2/km 2025 target being phased in through annual targets that get progressively lower to give importers time to adjust. 

“The Import Standard will prevent up to 3 million tonnes of emissions by 2040, mean more climate-friendly cars are available, and will give families average lifetime fuel savings of nearly $7,000 per vehicle.

“The Government will also consider options for an incentive scheme to help Kiwis make the switch to clean cars. The Government will have further announcements on our plan to reduce transport emissions in the coming months,” Michael Wood said.

 So no FIRM action, readers.  Just the promise of action via the passage of legislation.

Never mind. Climate Change Minister James Shaw seems satisfied.

He said today’s announcement (announcement of what, exactly?) is a good first step that needs to be taken on the road towards long-term emissions reductions from transport – and that there will need to be many more steps taken after this one.

The window of opportunity we have to address the climate crisis is closing fast. Reducing emissions from transport will need to be a priority if we are to meet our targets and make sure New Zealand plays its part in keeping the climate stable. 

“For decades governments allowed emissions from transport to increase unabated. Today we begin the work to change that. In doing so I’d like to acknowledge the work of the former Minister for Transport, Julie Anne Genter.

“Together these measures will help to make our communities cleaner and healthier, and ensure the vehicles we use to get around leave a smaller carbon footprint. It is necessary first step towards making sure that the journeys we all have to take are better for the planet. The measures announced today also help advance the commitments in the Cooperation Agreement between Labour and the Green Party to decarbonise public transport and to introduce a clean car standard,” James Shaw said. 

 Latest from the Beehive

Release

28 JANUARY 2021

Government moves on climate promises

Jump starting research careers

27 JANUARY 2021

Project protects jobs and nature

Minister Shaw speaks with U.S. Presidential Envoy John Kerry

Minister of Foreign Affairs makes three diplomatic appointments

Covid-19 border defences: pre-departure testing is extended (except for passengers from some countries)

The Point of Order Ministers on a Mission Monitor has flickered only fleetingly for much of the month.  More than once, the minister to trigger it has been David Parker, who set it off again yesterday with an announcement that shows how he has been spending our money.

He welcomed the first intake of cadets at the launch of the Bay Conservation Cadets – Tauira Mahi programme in Tauranga, a project supported by a grant of $3.5 million.  It is part of the Government’s Jobs for Nature scheme launched in the 2020 Budget to boost employment, protect and enhance the environment while accelerating the recovery from the impact of COVID-19.

Speaking of the virus, it’s the job of COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins to deal with the threat of a new strain sneaking through our protective defences.  And today he has announced the Government is extending pre-departure testing to all passengers to New Zealand except from Australia, Antarctica and most Pacific Islands.

The change will come into force for all flights arriving in New Zealand after 11:59pm (NZT) on Monday 25 January. Continue reading “Covid-19 border defences: pre-departure testing is extended (except for passengers from some countries)”

Parker should brace for lobbying from guardians of the swamp after housing project is given fast-track panel’s approval

The Point of Order Ministerial Workload Watchdog and our ever-vigilant Trough Monitor were both triggered yesterday by an item of news from the office of Conservation Minister Kititapu Allan.

The minister was drawing attention to new opportunities to dip into the Jobs for Nature programme (and her statement was the only sign of life in the Beehive, for those who use such statements as a measure of ministerial activity, since last we reported).

Funding of $34 million is being made available to conservation groups and landowners to employ staff and contractors in a move aimed at boosting local biodiversity-focused projects.

Allan made the announcement at Waikanae, about an hour’s drive up the Kapiti coast from her ministerial office.   During the drive from Wellington – or did she take the train? – she would have passed a wetland known as the Taupo Swamp.

On the other side of the highway from the swamp,  between Plimmerton and Pukerua Bay, is a block of farmland.

The Dominion-Post would have informed Allen yesterday (if she did not already know) that this farmland is the intended site for the Plimmerton Farm development which aims to house as many as 2000 new homes.  The project – more likely to be environmentally harmful than beneficial to the swamp – has been given the approval of an independent panel. Continue reading “Parker should brace for lobbying from guardians of the swamp after housing project is given fast-track panel’s approval”

Mahuta reaches out to our Aussie neighbours while O’Connor builds digital trade ties with Canada

Our foreign affairs and trade ministers have been hard at work, forging stronger relationships with our Aussie neighbours and Canada.

Their colleagues meanwhile have been spending our money on projects to promote tourism and keep weeds out of a world-famous national park.

Tourism Minister Stuart Nash announced the approval of an application for $3.75 million to help develop events on the Thermal Explorer Highway that links communities across Waikato, Rotorua, Lake Taupō and Ruapehu.

This is the first investment to be confirmed from the $50 million Regional Events Fund announced as part of the government’s $400 million Tourism Recovery package.

Other proposals from Northland to Southland are going through final stages of approval.

Conservation Minister Kiri Allan was busy attacking weeds, announcing a new Jobs for Nature project to stop invasive weeds spreading into Fiordland National Park.

The Southern South Island Alliance has allocated $345,000 Jobs for Nature funding annually to the Fiordland Buffer Zone project, providing 12 full time equivalent jobs across the two-year life of the project. Continue reading “Mahuta reaches out to our Aussie neighbours while O’Connor builds digital trade ties with Canada”

We know about politicians seeking power – but they could be the source of generating power, too

A press release from the Beehive triggered our recollection of a bit of science about the energy-generating properties of methane.  According to an article in the Journal of Environmental Management a few years ago, livestock manure contributes an estimated 240 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent of methane to the atmosphere and represents one of the biggest anthropogenic sources of methane.

Considering that methane is the second biggest contributor to global warming after carbon dioxide, the article said,

“ … it is imperative that ways and means are developed to capture as much of the anthropogenic methane as possible. There is a major associated advantage of methane capture: its use as a source of energy which is comparable in ‘cleanness’ to natural gas.”

We bring this to readers’ attention in light of

  • The initiative by Parliamentry Services to cut Parliament’s carbon footprint by installing solar and improving energy efficiency, and
  • The power-generating potential of – is there a more delicate way of expressing this? – political bullshit. 

Continue reading “We know about politicians seeking power – but they could be the source of generating power, too”

Nanaia Mahuta joins Jones in announcing a $2.96m handout – but the PM signals the plug will be pulled on the PGF

News about the Provincial Growth Fund, which often features in our daily Latest from the Beehive reports, typically involve announcements of the latest grants or loans.

Today Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced a battle site of the 1860s Land Wars will receive $2.96 million from the fund.

But other news about the PGF came not from the Beehive, but from the Labour and New Zealand First Parties.     

First, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern advised that the plug will be pulled on it if she leads the next government (presumably without a New Zealand First partner).

A new trough – with a weak $200 million gruel rather than $3 billion chowder – will be established in its place. Continue reading “Nanaia Mahuta joins Jones in announcing a $2.96m handout – but the PM signals the plug will be pulled on the PGF”