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.”

And:

“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.

Speech 

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”

Govt welcomes $7.5bn investment – from the private sector – in our digital economy, but ministers are busy spending, too

The government has been spending money on ridding parts of the country of predators, cleaning up contaminated sites, helping NCEA students and researching cancer.

But ministers of the crown – it’s pleasing to note – are acknowledging big-bucks investments from the private sector, too.

Digital Economy and Communications Minister today welcomed the decision by Amazon’s cloud-computing arm, Amazon Web Services’ (AWS), to establish a Cloud Region on New Zealand shores, further boosting New Zealand’s growing digital sector and providing a vote of confidence in the direction of New Zealand’s economic recovery.

The investment is estimated to be around $7.5 billion, which “demonstrates the high level of confidence the international business community has in backing New Zealand’s economy,” Clark enthused.

We learned more about this project from Stuff, which reports that AWS will spend $7.5 billion over 15 years building “world class computing infrastructure” in Auckland .

Amazon Web Services New Zealand country manager Tim Dacombe-Bird said New Zealand would join 25 other territories in which the company had established cloud computing data centres.

The company would build “a cluster” of at least three data centres in the city, he said.

AWS estimated the investment would create 1000 jobs and contribute $10.8b to New Zealand’s GDP over the next 15 years.

Back in the capital, Clark’s ministerial colleagues have been busy spending state-sector money, which is the stuff they collect from taxpayers or borrow, according to our latest monitoring of The Beehive website. Continue reading “Govt welcomes $7.5bn investment – from the private sector – in our digital economy, but ministers are busy spending, too”

Flaws are found in a tool used for cleaning up waterways and preparing farm plans – but govt is on the case for improvements

Farm leaders are furious – with good cause – after a report by a panel of scientists found fault with the farm nutrient modelling system Overseer.

The panel cited “overarching structural problems” with the system, which has become one of the country’s main farm pollution-management tools, and concluded it could not be confident in Overseer’s ability to estimate nitrogen loss from farms.

Overseer  is a software tool developed in this country to measure farm nutrient dynamics.

It is used by councils all over New Zealand as the basis for granting consents, checking compliance and enforcement against farmers and for estimating on-farm greenhouse gas emissions.

The Overseer intellectual property is jointly owned by the Ministry of Primary Industries, the Fertiliser Association of NZ and AgResearch. The intellectual property is exclusively licensed to Overseer Ltd, which is owned by the Fertiliser Association of NZ and AgResearch.

Now that its usefulness for regulatory purposes and as a nutrient management tool has been undermined, there is an urgent need for a more credible tool to be developed – and the Ardern team is on the case.

Environment Minister David Parker and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor have acknowledged the science panel’s findings of shortcomings in Overseer nutrient management tool and say –

  • The government will support the development of a next generation Overseer alongside a suite of tools to help in the management and estimation of on-farm nutrient loss
  • Over the next year, Overseer will be supported while a next generation of the tool is developed and/or additional tools are made available
  • A more accurate way to estimate nutrient loss is important for farmers, the environment and brand New Zealand.

Continue reading “Flaws are found in a tool used for cleaning up waterways and preparing farm plans – but govt is on the case for improvements”

Govt plaudits for Lisa Carrington shouldn’t bother the public – whitebaiters won’t be so chuffed about new regulations

Ministers sometimes can bask in the satisfaction of releasing a press statement which is unlikely to provoke political opponents to find fault with the announcement or anger some sections of the community.

Sport and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson issued such a statement yesterday, when he congratulated New Zealand Olympic kayaker Lisa Carrington on her exceptional performance at the Tokyo Olympics which has led to her becoming the most decorated New Zealand Olympian.

“Lisa is a phenomenal athlete. To win the K1 200m three Olympics in a row, and to add both the K2 500 gold with Caitlyn Regal earlier this week and the K1 500 gold today is an exceptional effort. She is tough, resilient and remarkable, and deservedly the most decorated New Zealand Olympian,” Grant Robertson said.

He also congratulated the New Zealand Olympic Team for its outstanding performance in these Olympics. With a total of 17 medals so far, including a record number of seven Gold medals, they are on the road to a possible record medal haul.

Conservation Minister Kiritapu Allan, on the other hand, is bound to have rankled whitebaiters with her announcement that the 2021 whitebaiting season is about to kick off with new regulations in place to help ensure a healthy future for the fishery.

The Games seem to have inspired other ministerial announcements. Continue reading “Govt plaudits for Lisa Carrington shouldn’t bother the public – whitebaiters won’t be so chuffed about new regulations”