News splash from Nash: he is taking a lash (at long last) at slash – but it’s not so flash Govt will wait for inquiry’s guidance

Buzz  from the Beehive

Pressure had been mounting on the East Coast long before Cyclones Hale and Gabrielle for the Gisborne District Council to tighten forestry regulations after tonnes of logs and debris clogged waterways during flooding.

Extensive flooding in Marlborough and Tasman last year fortified concerns about the laxity of environmental controls on exotic forestry.

Environmental Defence Society chief executive Gary Taylor wrote for Newsroom that the old method of allowing large scale clear-felling at harvest on erosion-prone land is no longer fit-for-purpose in a climate changing world.

Having large swathes of hill country denuded of stabilising vegetation for several years between forestry cycles is exacerbating run-off volumes and flood velocity, as well as vastly increasing sediment loads entering the coastal marine area. Sediment smothers and kills marine life.

Continue reading “News splash from Nash: he is taking a lash (at long last) at slash – but it’s not so flash Govt will wait for inquiry’s guidance”

46 councils sought funding from a $350m transport trough – and 46 councils are given funds (but we don’t know how much)

Buzz from the Beehive

Hard on the heels of Chris Hipkins announcing an embarrassing U-turn on one (but only one) contentious aspect of the government’s Three Waters legislation, ministers seemed keen to remind the voters what a splendid government we have.

Each of three Beehive statements  since the U-turn involved initiatives and handouts to improve our wellbeing. 

Mind you, the benefits will be enjoyed in one case only by people living in certain parts of the country –

Better transport choices for New Zealanders

Forty-six councils across Aotearoa New Zealand, from large metro centres to small provincial towns, will receive funding to implement more transport options for communities, as part of the Transport Choices package 2022-24, Transport Minister Michael Wood announced today.

In other words, 46  councils have successfully lined up for goodies served from the Transport Choices trough, a $350m “package” which aims to provide people in communities around the country with a wider range of efficient, cost effective and sustainable transport options. Continue reading “46 councils sought funding from a $350m transport trough – and 46 councils are given funds (but we don’t know how much)”

Greenies challenge NZ food producers with push towards lab-produced tucker but Fonterra strikes back with Nutiani

New Zealand’s  food  exporters, on whom  this  country  depends  for  the  bulk of  its  export earnings, may  have  to  contend  with  fresh  opposition  from a  new  quarter. This  is  the  school  of  “greenies” who  preach  the  need  for  a revolution  in  creating  food through  precision  fermentation: growing  food   in  labs  from  microbes  and  water.

Leading  this  school  in the  United Kingdom is a  formidable  authority,  George  Monbiot,  who argues  that  before  long

 “… most  of  our  food will come neither from animals nor plants but  from unicellular  life”.   

Monbiot  and  others  like   him  argue  it  is  “indisputable”   that  the  farming revolution of  the  the  1950’s ,  with  its  widespread use  of  herbicides, pesticides  and  fungicides has  waged  war  on  nature.

He  has a  column  in the  Guardian and recently  wrote that  organic, pasture -fed  beef and  lamb  are  the  “world’s  most  damaging  farm  products”. Continue reading “Greenies challenge NZ food producers with push towards lab-produced tucker but Fonterra strikes back with Nutiani”

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 – a spate of spending announcements (but the funding for indigenous-business initiative is unspecified)

IT LOOK LIKE the prospect of a long Easter holiday weekend triggered an unusual burst of energy in the Beehive yesterday.

Newspapers don’t publish on Good Friday, of course, which means those press releases probably won’t generate as many headlines as normal. Perhaps minimum publicity was the objective, in some cases.

Energy Minister Megan Woods had some news that involves drilling, for example. And mere mention of the word “drilling” (unless the work is done by a dentist) is bound to raise the hackles of greenies.

Other ministers were splashing public money around – into an offshore fisheries partnership between New Zealand and the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency ($5 million); a Mayoral Relief Fund to support people and communities most affected by the recent severe weather in Wairoa ($100,000); and support to strengthen the rural advisory sector (more than $25 million).

Then there’s news of New Zealand/Australian government funding of a new initiative to support indigenous business, targeted towards Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and Māori communities. The money will provide e-commerce training and business development to help up to 82 indigenous businesspeople.  Alas, the sum involved was not included in the statement from Associate Maori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta

Latest from the Beehive

Geotech investigations to get underway for pumped hydro at Lake Onslow

Drilling is about to get underway for one of the key options of the NZ Battery Project geotechnical feasibility investigations, in what has the potential to be the largest hydro project in New Zealand.

Bill to support the safe operation of courts and tribunals during COVID-19 passes third reading

Legislation to support the safe operation of the courts during the COVID-19 pandemic has passed its third reading in Parliament.

Partnering across the Tasman to lift indigenous business

Aotearoa New Zealand and Australia governments are funding a new initiative to support indigenous business.

Increased support for Pacific tuna fisheries

Increasing employment and economic benefits from the Pacific’s offshore fisheries is the focus of a new NZD$5 million partnership between Aotearoa New Zealand and the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA).

Celebrating an illustrious 50 years of kapa haka and waiata at Te Matatini

The world’s largest kapa haka festival Te Matatini has thrived over its 50-year journey, showcasing the brilliance of Māori performing arts and world-leading kaihaka.

Government support for flood-hit Wairoa

The Government will contribute $100,000 towards a Mayoral Relief Fund to support people and communities most affected by the recent severe weather in Wairoa.

Government taking action to reverse environmental decline

The Environment Aotearoa 2022 report released today shows the Government’s plan to turn around decades of environmental decline and make New Zealand carbon-neutral is more urgent than ever.

Afghanistan humanitarian mission sees more than 1500 people come to Aotearoa New Zealand

The Government had successfully assisted more than 1500 people to travel from Afghanistan to Aotearoa New Zealand since the Taliban takeover in August 2021, as the taskforce set up to lead the mission comes to an end.

Government strengthening farm planning system for farmers and growers

The Government is backing farmers and growers to adapt and innovate with a package of support to strengthen the rural advisory sector.

Cycle tourism riding high as popularity grows

New Zealand’s iconic cycle trails are experiencing a boom in popularity and new research shows they are driving economic activity in the regions as well as benefits for health and

Buzz from the Beehive – or (unwittingly) is the way being paved for booze in schools to boost kids’ health and wellbeing?

The news from the Beehive has been mixed on the trade front – greater trade liberalisation with China was welcomed by Trade Minister Damien O’Connor but was countered by his announcement (alongside Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta) of significant new sanctions against Russia.

It’s a good thing our trade with China is much greater than our trade with Russia.

But the government’s general inclination to regulate rather than liberalise is reflected in its signalling a Nanny State crackdown on what our kids can drink.

It has opened a public consultation on a proposal for primary schools to offer only “healthy” drinks.  We trust they know what they are doing with this one.

We say this because alcoholic drinks are good for our health, according to some websites checked out by Point of Order. Consumption must be moderate, true, but that should apply to whatever our kids eat and drink.

Hence we look forward to our toddlers toasting each other with a cheery “good health” before they sink their daily toddies.  Continue reading “Buzz from the Beehive – or (unwittingly) is the way being paved for booze in schools to boost kids’ health and wellbeing?”

Buzz from the Beehive: Oh dear, Robertson dents the Nats in a sideswipe about Transmission Gully delays

Communication, in various forms, was a common factor in three of the latest statements from the Beehive.

One of these – released in the names of the PM and two other ministers – declared that Jacinda Ardern has officially opened the Transmission Gully motorway, in time for the Easter break, school holidays, “and the return of tourists to New Zealand”.

Two other statements, dealing with digital-age technologies, advised us of –

  • A new research project which aims to fast-track the delivery of a digital solution for farm environment plans.
  • The latest data which records progress in improving internet connectivity for rural areas across the country.

Oh – and there was some stuff about Covid-19 and how to combat it.

The Government has launched a new targeted rural service of rapid antigen tests for those who live in remote rural areas. And new guidance for businesses and organisations to help them deal with upcoming changes to vaccination requirements has been released.

Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta popped up, too, with news she has signed a partnership statement.

Not a treaty partnership statement.  This one strengthens this country’s relationship with  Fiji.  Continue reading “Buzz from the Beehive: Oh dear, Robertson dents the Nats in a sideswipe about Transmission Gully delays”

Had the money dried up for drought forecasting after runanga were given millions for conservation work?

Two announcements from the office of Kiripatu Allan give us a good idea of the government’s spending priorities.

Our understanding of those priorities is enhanced when we compare Allan’s announcements with the government’s investment in a project aimed to developing a new drought  forecasting tool.

“Improved forecasting will alleviate some of the financial and mental burden that drought puts on farmers and growers. It will also make our primary industries more resilient, productive and sustainable,” Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor said of this development.

As Minister for Emergency Management, Kiri Allan says the government will contribute towards a Mayoral Relief Fund to support those most affected by the fires in Waiharara in the Far North.

A few days later, as Minister for Conservation, she announced a boost in funding for six Jobs for Nature initiatives across Canterbury.  These range from establishing coastline trapping in Kaikōura, to setting up a native plant nursery, restoration planting at Lyttelton harbour, and increasing pest control across Banks Peninsula and Christchurch.

The contribution to the wellbeing of the people affected by the Far North fire amounted to $200,000.

The investment in improved drought forecasting is $200,000.

The investments in conservation projects amount to “over $12.64 million”. Continue reading “Had the money dried up for drought forecasting after runanga were given millions for conservation work?”

Let’s welcome Mahuta’s zeal for restoring Hong Kong’s democracy – and then let’s hope her thinking extends to NZ governance

Monitoring the Ministers

Two sets of key public-sector appointments have been announced by the ministers who serve us, since we last reported on our monitoring of the Beehive website.

Old white blokes – by the way – did not get a look-in, when it came to landing these jobs.

Children’s Minister Kelvin Davis announced three additional members have been appointed to the Oranga Tamariki Ministerial Advisory Board to provide representation for the youth, disability and Pasifika communities.

The board, set up in January, provides independent advice and assurance to the Minister for Children as work begins to “reset” the organisation.

Dr Ruth Jones, Mana Williams-Eade and Alfred Filipaina – the new appointees – join board chair Matthew Tukaki, Dame Naida Glavish, Sir Mark Solomon and Shannon Pakura

“… and will work alongside Oranga Tamariki to change our child care and protection system.”

A new action plan to implement the board’s initial recommendations has been put in place and work is well under way in talking to communities about how they see the future of child protection, Davis said.

“I firmly believe the answer lies in Oranga Tamariki taking a back seat and working in true partnership with communities who know best for their young people.”

Readers on the right of the political spectrum should be chuffed.  Davis is saying the best place for the state is to get out of our lives.

Health Minister Andrew Little and  Associate Health Minister Peeni Henare announced the two chief executives to lead New Zealand’s two new (racially segregated) health agencies. Continue reading “Let’s welcome Mahuta’s zeal for restoring Hong Kong’s democracy – and then let’s hope her thinking extends to NZ governance”

Capital restructuring is one big issue for Fonterra farmers – but they must respond to environmental challenges, too

Just  as  the  dairy  season  hits its  peak, Fonterra   farmer-shareholders   are  confronted with a  key decision on the  capital  structure  of the  big co-op. The board is  asking  them to  vote on the  proposal  at the annual meeting next month.

Consultation on the proposal with farmer-owners has been ongoing throughout the year, with some tweaks announced in September before a second round of discussions.  But Fonterra leaders have been clear they wouldn’t put the reform forward for voting if they believed the support wasn’t there

Farmers have  had  little  time to  enjoy  the  news  that  the  co-op  has  raised  its  forecast  payout  for  the current  season  to  a  record level.  Nor  is the  capital structure the  only  issue triggering  worry in the  cowshed.

The  government’s  focus  on climate  change, particularly methane  emissions, is  another matter weighing on the  industry, exacerbated by outfits like  Greenpeace shouting  the  odds  about “industrial  farming’’  and  “dirty dairying”. Continue reading “Capital restructuring is one big issue for Fonterra farmers – but they must respond to environmental challenges, too”