MIQueue – bringing Kiwis together

Scattered across time zones, united in desperation, Jacinda’s team of 25,000 hunched over PCs and phones on Tuesday to secure one of the coveted 3,700 rooms (more or less) for returning New Zealanders.  The two hours or so it took to work down the electronic queue were an opportunity to catch up on international coverage of the government’s acknowledgement that Covid elimination was not going to work. 

Continue reading “MIQueue – bringing Kiwis together”

The Treaty gives government a tonic to deal to family violence – but science is called on to deal with Myrtle rust

Vaccine announcements have dominated news from the Beehive over the past few days, but while the vaccine deals to Covid,  the Treaty of Waitangi has been prescribed to deal to family violence.

ACC minister Carmel Sepuloni announced the ACC is investing $44.9 million over four years to establish “a fit-for-purpose sexual violence primary prevention system”.

This is bound to be successful because it is based on the Treaty, a document signed in 1840 comprising just three articles.  But when interpreted by the Ardern governmnent,  this document holds the key to ridding us (apparently) of pretty well anything from warts to citizens’ rights to challenge local authorities’ race-based governance proposals.

And so:

“The new Te-Tiriti-informed primary prevention system announced today, will provide long-term, sustained investment and enhance our Government’s effort to prevent sexual violence.

“The package includes $11.715 million of targeted investment for kaupapa Māori approaches. It will enhance the primary prevention system in Aotearoa New Zealand.”

Who provides the money?

Most of us, we imagine, although when it comes  to determining who should be given priority in the spending of this money, the government unabashedly brings race into calculations.

“As Treaty partners, ACC will prioritise Māori and partner with whānau, hapū, iwi and Māori communities,” Associate Minister for ACC Willie Jackson said. Continue reading “The Treaty gives government a tonic to deal to family violence – but science is called on to deal with Myrtle rust”

Correction: Britain’s gas crisis means Europe’s gas crisis

Remember the 1970s?  We were going to run out of oil and everything revolved around energy prices.

America got into wars because of it and built an enormous strategic stockpile; NZ had carless days and the hydrocarbon developments of Think Big, the last of the great state-directed development projects (well … until the renewables project, national fibre broadband and the distortions of the Resource Management Act that is).

Europe’s natural gas crisis has the potential to head in a similarly dominating direction.

Continue reading “Correction: Britain’s gas crisis means Europe’s gas crisis”

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”

Hipkins gets huffy about “hermit” remark while the PM communicates with the UN General Assembly via Zoom

The Minister in charge of the country’s Covid-19 response, Chris Hipkins, was wrong to say former PM John Key’s description of New Zealand as a “smug hermit kingdom” is an insult to New Zealanders.

The Point of Order team  – for starters – are much more inclined to weigh the merits of what Key said in a newspaper column than feel insulted, take offence, or complain about racism, as too many people do nowadays rather than engage in a robust discussion.

Key’s column set out five suggested strategies to get vaccination rates up and end a reliance on managed isolation at the border.

Hipkins said these are generally already being enacted or looked at.

But he bridled at being reminded about our closed borders: Continue reading “Hipkins gets huffy about “hermit” remark while the PM communicates with the UN General Assembly via Zoom”

Yes, the govt will invest in Police response teams but the emphasis will be on tactics (and dogs) rather than firearms

Police Minister Poto Williams – explaining her opposition to Armed Response Teams  a few weeks back – said she would not be backing down on her strong stance not to support the general arming of police because the Māori and Pacific Island communities she represents do not want it.

But whoa.  As MP for Christchurch East, isn’t she supposed to represent the people of that community of many ethnicities?

And as Minister of Police, isn’t she supposed to have some regard for the wellbeing of our police officers?

Well, yes.

And today (lest anyone might doubt it ) she said the Government is committed to keeping the country’s frontline police officers safe, so they in turn can keep New Zealanders safe. Continue reading “Yes, the govt will invest in Police response teams but the emphasis will be on tactics (and dogs) rather than firearms”

Who gives a tweet about MIQ misery

The government’s choice of a randomised electronic queue for the distribution of 3,000 MIQ rooms yesterday had one surprising benefit.  It showed just how many New Zealanders were desperate enough to stand in e-line – more than 26,000 according to Stuff.

It also reminds us that while ministers and their officials can sometimes do one thing well – occasionally even two or three – the system is not designed to meet your personal needs. The fatal conceit, as Friedrich Hayek pointed out, is that the bureaucracy thinks it knows what they are.

Continue reading “Who gives a tweet about MIQ misery”

The way out of Alert Level Four Covid confinement (it seems) is to get arrested and be freed on remand

The Beehive website has been focused on Covid-related news in recent days – each of the last four press statements from ministers is related to Covid-19 issues and, for good measure, we can include a statement which arrived in our email in-tray yesterday from Peeni Henare which has not yet been given “official” Beehive website status.

But none of those statements deals with the question of why a remand prisoner who should have been kept in Alert Level Four lockdown along with all other Aucklanders – preferably in a prison in his case – was allowed to cross the border to the Waikato.

And guess what?

The Minister of Health revealed at the weekend that three household members of the prisoner have tested positive for the virus. Continue reading “The way out of Alert Level Four Covid confinement (it seems) is to get arrested and be freed on remand”

Govt invests in robotics to help harvest the asparagus crop but the Nats are grouching about problems in the pork industry

A flow of Covid-related announcements from The Beehive was interrupted by news of a Government investment in robotics.

The Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures fund (SFF Futures) is contributing $2.6 million to a $5 million project to develop a commercial-scale autonomous robotic asparagus harvester.  

Project partner Robotics Plus Limited (RPL) will build on a prototype asparagus harvesting robot developed by Waikato University researchers, and the New Zealand Asparagus Council will develop a marketing proposition for exporting the asparagus.

 All other Beehive announcements (when Point of Order checked this morning) related to Covid-19.

The best of those told us more Pfizer is on the way.

Another welcome decision related to driver licences, Warrants of Fitness (WoFs), Certificates of Fitness (CoFs), vehicle licences (‘regos’) and licence endorsements that expired on or after 21 July 2021.  Their validity has been extended until 30 November. Continue reading “Govt invests in robotics to help harvest the asparagus crop but the Nats are grouching about problems in the pork industry”

Govt pours more millions into race-focused responses to Covid-19 and launches a Maori Communications Portal

The Government is pouring more money into race-focused initiatives to help Maori and Pacifika people as it responds to Covid-19 and strives to boost vaccination rates.  A new one landed in Point of Order’s email  in-tray as we were preparing this post.

It came from Kelvin Davis, Minister for Māori Crown Relations: Te Arawhiti, Carmel Sepuloni, Minister for Social Development and Employment, and Peeni Henare, Minister for Whānau Ora.

The headline on the press statement summed it up: Government increases whānau support for COVID-19 response

This support amounts to –

  • An immediate boost of $8.816 million to the three Whānau Ora commissioning agencies to continue to provide direct and integrated support to hard-to-reach families “with complex and overlapping needs”.
  • A further $14.216 million will be distributed based on need as information on the impact of the current change in alert levels unfolds. This will support the work of Whānau Ora providers to meet the increased community need for support and services, including accessing vaccinations, testing and self-isolating spaces.
  • The Ministry of Social Development is making a $2 million fund immediately available to partner with Maori tribes responding to critical unmet needs.  This fund recognises “the potential for emerging need”, particularly in areas which may not have access to other forms of support during higher alert levels, said Sepuloni.
  • Funding of $1 million, from the COVID-19 Response and Resilience Fund will be available to support tribal community responses and assist them to update pandemic response plans to take into account the new reality of the Delta variant.

Other recent press statements advised us – Continue reading “Govt pours more millions into race-focused responses to Covid-19 and launches a Maori Communications Portal”