Buzz from the Beehive: While climate change assault is outlined, DoC Minister plants a kauri and Mahuta rocks Belarussia

The big news from the  Beehive in the past day has been the announcement of the Government’s Emissions Reduction Plan to put the country on track to meet its first emissions budget, securing our environment and economy.

More of that in our next post.  For now, suffice to say Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern declared:

“This is a landmark day in our transition to a low emissions future  

“We’ve all seen the recent reports on sea level rise and its impact right here in New Zealand. We cannot leave the issue of climate change until it’s too late to fix.” Continue reading “Buzz from the Beehive: While climate change assault is outlined, DoC Minister plants a kauri and Mahuta rocks Belarussia”

Buzz from the Beehive – was it Winston Peters who last mentioned “democracy” in an Anzac Day speech?

It is a measure of the Government’s regard for the democracy that is being “tweaked” on her watch that Jacinda Ardern didn’t drop that word into her Speech to Mt Albert Anzac Day Service.

More than a century after the first Anzac Day commemorations were held in 1916 “in sober remembrance of those who had been involved in the Gallipoli campaign”, she said,.

“… this annual recognition of the service and sacrifice of New Zealanders in war remains equally significant, as we take pause to recognise all who have returned from service, and all who have been lost to us.”


“Anzac Day is a time to give thanks to today’s armed forces who strive to uphold the values we hold dear as they continue to serve in areas of conflict overseas.”

Point of Order delved back to 2019 to find mention of democracy in a ministerial speech on Anzac Day.  On that occasion the speech was delivered by Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters at the Danish Institute of International Studies in Copenhagen.

Peters, leader of New Zealand First, is no longer in office to impede Labour’s constitutional reconstruction as its coalition partner.  But it seems he is still a champion of democracy because he recently declared:

“The insidious creep of the racist, separatist, secretive co-governance agenda must be stopped now…”  

In Copenhagen, he explained that Anzac Day was the day on which Kiwis and Australians commemorate the sacrifices made by our service men and women over the last century and more in the pursuit of freedom. He said.

“A great number of New Zealanders lost their lives during two world wars fighting to defend Europe from tyranny and from fascisim.  It is therefore a privilege to speak today in Denmark, a thriving, peaceful and innovative democracy with which our country – New Zealand – shares so much.”

 Peters mentioned “the values that drive us”, including democracy.

“New Zealand is one of only nine countries with an uninterrupted sequence of democratic elections since 1854”.

But now – as Deputy PM Grant Robertson acknowledged this morning – our government is “adapting” core democratic principles to ensure better outcomes for Māori.

Radio NZ’s account of this interview includes a pointer to an item headed –

“We’re interested in things that work” Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson (7 min 53 sec)

Work at what?

If efficiency of government spending is the objective, for example, we could learn a lot from the United Arab Emirates, which ranks number one on a World Economic Forum, Executive Opinion Survey for efficiency in fiscal management.

Qatar (fourth), Rwanda (fifth) and Saudi Arabia (seventh) are worth emulating, too, because they all come in ahead of New Zealand (eighth).

None of those countries has much time for “democracy” of the sort Peters mentioned in his speech,  although maybe Robertson’s recognition of the benefits of other forms of government  explains why he is arguing the case for tweaking…

Latest from the Beehive

26 APRIL 2022

Helping some of New Zealand’s highest energy users slash their emissions

The Government is helping even more of New Zealand’s biggest industrial players slash their emissions faster, with one of the Government’s biggest hitters when it comes to supporting decarbonisation, Minister of Energy and Resources, Dr Megan Woods announced today.

Boosting biggest city’s environment cred

More than 50 jobs are being created across Tāmaki Makaurau/Auckland with the launch of three new Government-backed initiatives, Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says.

Celebrating 30 years of Great Walks

The opening of the 2022-23 Great Walks booking season next week heralds 30 years of epic adventures in our backyard throughout the country, says Minister of Conservation Kiri Allan.


25 APRIL 2022

Prime Minister’s Speech to Mt Albert Anzac Day Service

Let me start by saying how wonderful it is to see people up and down the country gathering together in person again this year, in commemoration of Anzac Day.

Buzz from the Beehive – the people are being consulted (hurrah) but most must wait to see Jackson’s “Declaration Plan”

A government aiming to “tweak” our democratic governance arrangements – in a programme  which our PM says requires  “sophistication” – has declared its readiness to listen to the people.  On some things, at least.

On the health-restructuring front it has announced

“… how New Zealanders will have a real voice in determining the health services provided in their community as part of the new health system”.

Health Minister Andrew Little said this when announcing nine locality network pilots intended to improve the delivery of healthcare in local communities.

On a programme of more far-reaching constitutional significance, the government has completed the first stage of a “two-step engagement process to develop a Declaration Plan”.

A Declaration Plan?  This is something on which Māori leaders and interest groups have been consulted, which is ominously instructive.  Drafting will now commence in partnership with the National Iwi Chairs Forum’s Pou Tikanga and the Human Rights Commission before it is shared for public consultation later this year. So just be patient, folks – your turn will come, presumably well after you can change things much.

But this consulting caper hasn’t been allowed to go too far.  In Tauranga the commissioners who displaced elected councillors  have been reappointed by Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta.

Latest from the Beehive

22 APRIL 2022

Commissioners reappointed to Tauranga City Council

Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta today announced the reappointment of four commissioners to the Tauranga City Council.

Next steps in Declaration Plan

“We’ve now completed the first stage of the two-step engagement process to develop a Declaration Plan.

Public Media entity Establishment Board appointments

The Minister for Broadcasting and Media has confirmed the nine-member Establishment Board to lead the work on creating a new public media entity in New Zealand.

Prime Minister has productive meeting with Prime Minister of Japan

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern had a productive meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in Tokyo today.

Joint Statement: Japan and Aotearoa New Zealand: a Strategic Cooperative Partnership for Common Peace, Security and Prosperity

The Prime Minister of Japan His Excellency KISHIDA Fumio and the Prime Minister of New Zealand the Right Honourable Jacinda Ardern held a productive and substantive meeting in Tokyo on 21 April 2022.

21 APRIL 2022

NZ, Japan team up on renewable energy

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern today welcomed two renewable energy initiatives that highlight the growing partnership between Japan and New Zealand as both countries work towards a greener future.

Veterans Minister congratulates RSA on 100 years since first Poppy Appeal

Veterans Minister Meka Whaitiri has congratulated the Royal New Zealand Returned and Services’ Association (RSA) on 100 years since the first Poppy Appeal in New Zealand, held on April 24, 1922.

New technology for e-waste switched on

A new state-of-the-art machine that sorts and shreds electronic waste has officially started operation in Auckland today.

CPI figures highlight global economic challenges

Further increases in consumer prices are a reminder of the current global economic challenges and the need for responsible fiscal policy in New Zealand, Grant Robertson said today.

Government supports more people off benefit

The Government’s response to COVID-19 has helped keep people in work, with March Quarter Benefit statistics showing a further fall in the number of people receiving a main benefit and jobseeker assistance.


Andrew Little Locality network announcement speech, Levin | Taitoko, 21 April 2022

Locality planning networks are an essential feature of the health reforms which, subject to the legislation passing in Parliament, will take effect on 1 July.

Health Reform – Govt ensures local say in health services

The Government has announced how New Zealanders will have a real voice in determining the health services provided in their community as part of the new health system.

Buzz from The Beehive

Two Ministers of the Crown have been busy dishing out money, to improve land management practices in South Waikato and to develop an eco-sanctuary in the Central Plateau.

Two others have been delivering speeches, on public media restructuring and energy policy.

One has been involved in a Customs agreement with the Netherlands.

And one of them has been tidying up the unforeseen (presumably) consequences of legislative attempts to regulate the lending of money.

Latest from the Beehive

11 MARCH 2022

Funding boost for farmer-led catchment group in South Waikato

The Government is investing in a farmer-led catchment group in South Waikato to help its on-the-ground efforts to improve land management practices.

Govt updates responsible lending rules

The Government is making practical amendments to responsible lending rules to curb any unintended consequences being caused by the Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance Act (CCCFA).

10 MARCH 2022


Speech announcing the decision to establish a new public media entity

In February 2020 – at the New Zealand Broadcasting school – I outlined the” in principle” decision the Government had made to ensure New Zealand’s Public Media could face the challenges of the future – to ensure it was strong, sustainable and structured in a way to move with audience, technology and market trends.

 Eco-sanctuary to protect valued species

A new 2700ha “inland island” sanctuary for native plants and animals on the North Island Central Plateau is a step closer with support from the Government’s Mahi mō te Taiao/Jobs for Nature programme.

New public media entity to showcase New Zealand voices and stories

Ensuring New Zealanders continue to have access to reliable, trusted, independent information and local content sits at the heart of the decision to create a new public media entity, Minister for Broadcasting and Media Kris Faafoi has announced.

Customs Mutual Administrative Assistance Agreement between New Zealand and the Kingdom of the Netherlands

Aotearoa New Zealand and the Kingdom of the Netherlands have reached an agreement today, which will enable information sharing to limit harm across our countries.


BusinessNZ Energy Council (BEC) Breakfast 10 March 2022

You’ll be aware that climate change is a key priority for this Government. It’s a threat to our economy, our environment and our everyday lives, so investing in a sustainable energy system will benefit us all, and see us better placed to deal with future shocks, especially as we accelerate our economic recovery from Covid-19.

There is an alternative to Trump. It looks like this

Wolfgang Munchau is a favourite European political commentator.  You have to love a guy who ran the argument that Germany and Britain should team up to run the European Union.

Naturally you’d like to know his views on the new German governing coalition, which has just published its 178-page policy agreement.

The most interesting thing about the coalition is that it brings together the enviro-statist Green party with the right-liberal Free Democrats, who, as Munchau says can’t stand the sight of each other”.

Continue reading “There is an alternative to Trump. It looks like this”

What must be embedded to modernise our research and science system? The treaty, of course (and don’t forget mātauranga Māori)

Latest from the Beehive

What had become a surge of ministerial announcements this time yesterday had turned into a tsunami at time of writing (around noon today).  Frankly, we can’t keep up.

We ended yesterday’s roundup of Beehive announcements with a statement on the PM’s virtual attendance at the East Asia Summit.  Since then, ministers have posted 16 new statements.  Several were Covid-related.

This was a good time for a smart press secretary to unload news of dubious government spending, hoping it will be buried by the other stuff, including Grant Robertson’s latest boast about how well the government’s finances are being managed.

Sure, core Crown expenses at $31 billion were $3.2 billion above forecast in the three months to the end of September – but, hey, that was all to do with Covid and the payment of wage subsidies and COVID-19 resurgence support payments.

But how well is spending being keep under control?

We wonder about this after Associate Education Minister Jan Tinetti got to announce the news we were all bursting to hear – that Fifty Kiwi Kidsongs have been launched through the Ministry of Education’s Arts Online website. The project is a collaboration with Music Education New Zealand Aotearoa (MENZA). Continue reading “What must be embedded to modernise our research and science system? The treaty, of course (and don’t forget mātauranga Māori)”

Economist is always right

The best editorials in The Economist are timeless. Traditionally they germinate in a Monday morning editorial conference run on the lines of an Oxbridge tutorial; Tuesday for a sometimes leisurely write up; Wednesday for editing; last minute tweaks on Thursday; giving a quality product with a life span longer than yesterday’s fish.

The latest on the global energy shock fits the bill.  Structured on the classical editorial tripos of “ … three problems loom[ing] large”.  Magisterial, incisive, combining sound economics with a global sweep of history.

But perhaps ten years too late.

Continue reading “Economist is always right”

A helping hand from the State for a range of causes, from the tourist industry (some operators, anyway) to Pasifika festivals

A bundle of statements and speeches has emerged from the Beehive in the past 24 hours.

We can’t closely examine all of them but suggest public servants whose pay is being frozen or subject to a stiff test before it is increased might take a look at some of the Government’s spending decisions.

Spending on cultural festivals, for example.

Here’s our attempt at giving readers a record of what has been done with their money or to improve their wellbeing … Continue reading “A helping hand from the State for a range of causes, from the tourist industry (some operators, anyway) to Pasifika festivals”

If you can now buy a house (thanks to the govt’s policies) you may balk at your power bill (thanks to the govt’s policies)

As  the  Ardern government grapples  with  the  housing  crisis  it inherited — and which  it compounded in its 3 ½  years in office — it looks like it  will have  another  on  its hands in  the  energy  sector.

When   it  sought the  plaudits  of the  climate  change  warriors   and   other  Greenies  by placing a   ban   on exploration   for  natural gas,  it did not  appear to  realise that supplies of   natural gas already were running down fast.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was quoted at the time  as  saying “I don’t think  they  (the petroleum exploration industry)  was blindsided”.

She  insisted  the  country  knew  the  Labour Party  wanted to  move away  from fossil  fuels.

So  what  have been  the consequences?

NZ  imported more  coal  in 2020  than in  2017  and 2018  combined. Continue reading “If you can now buy a house (thanks to the govt’s policies) you may balk at your power bill (thanks to the govt’s policies)”

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”