Hipkins has a chance to show he is more effective in getting results  than Ardern in his Canberra talks

 

Prime Minister Chris Hipkins has undergone a stern baptisim of fire in his first week in his new job, but it doesn’t get any easier.

Next week, he has a vital meeting  in Canberra with his Australian counterpart Anthony Albanese, where he has to establish the same kind of rapport as was established between Albanese and Jacinda Ardern as well as inject new energy into the  trade and defence ties with  NZ’s closest partner and ally.

It’s true Ardern won some concessions from Australia  on the sore point  of what  became known as the “501 deportees”.  As applied by previous administrations, waves of people with criminal records have been sent to New Zealand. Details of the changes now being made have yet to be  fully disclosed, although Albanese has said the policy itself will remain. Continue reading “Hipkins has a chance to show he is more effective in getting results  than Ardern in his Canberra talks”

Ministers tackle various issues overseas while Kiri Allan extends the Human Rights Act to combat religious bigots in NZ

 Buzz from the Beehive

Two ministers are overseas, combating climate  change (in the case of James Shaw) and Russian invaders  (in the case of Defence Minister Peeni Henare).

Another minister is bound for Paris, to combat mental ill-health among other things, according to his press statement.

And back home, Justice Minister Kiri Allan is combating religious discrimination.

We learn this from the Beehive website, where the latest posts tell us our ministers are –

Warning it is crunch time to take domestic action on climate change

Climate Change Minister James Shaw marked the end of COP27 negotiations in Egypt by saying it is crunch time for counties to step up and take urgent action at home. Continue reading “Ministers tackle various issues overseas while Kiri Allan extends the Human Rights Act to combat religious bigots in NZ”

Govt cheerleaders whoop the good news (at last) of resource management reform – but keep an eye on the Treaty’s role

Buzz from the Beehive

It was rather like listening to ministers crowing about the goodies being distributed to programmes within their portfolios before, on and after Budget Day.

It was the joyous response from a gaggle of cheerleading ministers to the unveiling of legislation to replace the wretched Resource Management Act.

Environment Minister David Parker made the key announcement and summed up its features under these bullet points:

  • The system is broken, consent fees have almost doubled, and consenting time frames increased by 50%
  • New standardised conditions will see fewer “bespoke” consents and speed up the process
  • Time to consent will shorten, and fast track process retained
  • On a conservative estimate costs will fall 19% a year ($149m) or $10b over 30 years
  • Environmental protection increases, based on new targets and limits.
  • The National Planning Framework will provide consistency and certainty
  • 100 RMA plans will reduce to 15

Continue reading “Govt cheerleaders whoop the good news (at last) of resource management reform – but keep an eye on the Treaty’s role”

Shakespeare uncancelled: Govt’s creative solution to arts funding embarrassment is to dip into the education budget

Buzz from the Beehive

We can only conjecture on what Shakespeare would name the political drama that has resulted in him being dismissed by Creative New Zealand as irrelevant for public funding in a decolonising Aotearoa but to retain the support of the Prime Minister and her Minister of Education.

All’s well that ends well, perhaps (although some tidying up remains to be done).

Or comedy of errors. Or Labour’s love lost- but then regained.

The news of Shakespeare regaining this love can  be found in a press statement from Education Minister Chris Hipkins, posted on the Beehive website today along with news that our eager-to-please ministers are…

* Winding down their extraordinary COVID-19 powers

The Government is winding down the extraordinary powers used to fight COVID-19 through the emergency phase of the response while retaining a small number of baseline measures to contain the spread of the virus. Continue reading “Shakespeare uncancelled: Govt’s creative solution to arts funding embarrassment is to dip into the education budget”

Mahuta pumps millions into the Cooks while colleagues attend Pacific defence meeting in Tonga and protect Niue’s language

Buzz from the Beehive

There has been a strong Pacific thrust to the weekend news from the Beehive, with ministerial press statements referring to investments, policies and meetings involving the  Cook Islands, Niue and Tonga.

Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta has been dishing out and/or reaffirming the investments of millions  of dollars during her visit to the Cook Islands as well as signing a new Statement of Partnership between New Zealand and the Cooks.

She confirmed a $7.5 million New Zealand government contribution to upgrade solar farms in the Northern Group of the Cook Islands, part of the 2022-2025 international climate commitment.

 “It will see renewable energy grids upgraded, support for maintenance, and provide financial stability for technology and electricity supplies” Mahuta said. Continue reading “Mahuta pumps millions into the Cooks while colleagues attend Pacific defence meeting in Tonga and protect Niue’s language”

Govt is pumping more millions into cleaning up contaminated sites and (more challenging) reducing livestock emissions

Buzz from the Beehive

David Parker and Damien O’Connor separately announced environmental projects calling for investments of millions of dollars.

But how many millions of dollars?

The price tag for the clean-up of six contaminated sites – $2.08 million’s – was mentioned in the last sentence of Parker’s press release of almost 500 words.

O’Connor mentioned much bigger numbers – but was imprecise about the public funding involved in this particular initiative – when he announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding by Government with agribusiness leaders, in a joint venture as part of the new Centre for Climate Action on Agricultural Emissions.

The two ministerial announcements have been posted on the Beehive website along with news of ministers … Continue reading “Govt is pumping more millions into cleaning up contaminated sites and (more challenging) reducing livestock emissions”

NZ deploys troops to the UK and despatches Mahuta to the Pacific (but non-Maori speakers may be puzzled about her intentions)

Buzz from the Beehive

Comings and goings were the common factor in the latest Beehive announcements.

Immigration Minister Michael Wood handled the “inward” movements by regurgitating migrant statistics he presumably wanted to crow about.

The “outward” movements are recorded in three statements – a further deployment of 120 New Zealand Defence Force personnel to the United Kingdom to help train Ukraine soldiers, the naming of a new High Commissioner to Kiribati, and a visit by Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta to Niue and Tonga this week.

Mahuta says her travels are “to engage kanohi ki te kanohi with counterparts”.

We imagine this is a legal form of behaviour among consenting adults and look forward to the television coverage. Continue reading “NZ deploys troops to the UK and despatches Mahuta to the Pacific (but non-Maori speakers may be puzzled about her intentions)”

PM traces shift in our independent foreign policy under Labour – and rails against ‘morally bankrupt’ United Nations

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, enjoying her  global celebrity  status  in Australia,  has  also succeeded in  clawing back  her  poll  ratings  in New Zealand.   According  to the  Roy Morgan  poll,  Labour has  risen  a  couple  of  points  to   33.5%  while  National has  edged  back a  point  to 39% since  May.

On the  Roy Morgan  sampling, the  Maori Party  would  hold  the balance  of  power.   Given the  apparent distaste of that party’s two members  in Parliament  for  parties  of the  Right, this could ensure  Labour  has  another term .

Ardern brushed off  a  question on the  ABC  about her  global celebrity  status, saying  her  total  focus  was  at  home.

“That  is  what matters  to  me”.

Nevertheless  her major  speech  in  Australia, to  the  Lowy Institute,  centred on  NZ’s  foreign  policy  and  traced  how  far   NZ  has moved since  Labour  took office in 2017. Continue reading “PM traces shift in our independent foreign policy under Labour – and rails against ‘morally bankrupt’ United Nations”

Covid is still with us, so don’t expect gang violence and ram raids to be eradicated now that Hipkins has the Police portfolio

Buzz from the Beehive

On the Beehive website, news of Kris Faafoi resigning from Parliament preceded news of the PM reshuffling her cabinet.   Indeed, Faafoi’s resignation – along with news of Trevor Mallard stepping down as Speaker of the House – provided the rationale for the PM’ reshuffle.

The timing in our email in-tray was different.  First (at 3.14pm), we learned of the Cabinet reshuffle and then (at 3.16pm) we were advised of Faafoi’s  resignation.

No matter.  The PM’s press statement said she has made changes to her Cabinet line-up following the decision of senior Minister Kris Faafoi to resign from Parliament and Speaker Trevor Mallard’s nomination to a European diplomatic posting.

There will be no mucking about with the reshuffle (which is more substantial than generally had been expected).  The changes will take effect after a ceremony at Government House this  afternoon.    Continue reading “Covid is still with us, so don’t expect gang violence and ram raids to be eradicated now that Hipkins has the Police portfolio”

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”