Having announced its plans to further restrict what we may say, the government turned to further restricting the materials used for packaging or for making goods we may buy.
And as part of the plastics announcement, Environment Minister David Parker launched a $50 million trough, enticingly named the Plastics Innovation Fund, to help support projects that reimagine how we make, use and dispose of plastics.
Funding will be available for innovative projects from designing out waste in products and packaging, or adopting and scaling up existing technologies, through to switching materials and developing recycling solutions not currently available.
Another measure with implications for civil liberties and for the wellbeing of the people affected was the extension of Alert Level 2 in the Wellington region.
At time of writing the ACT Party was preoccupied with expostulating against the speech constraints on the Ardern government’s legislative agenda, and had yet to give its views on the proposed plastics prohibitions, but the Nats and the Greens did respond critically.
It’s been a good day for troughers, nicely timed to bring a bit of extra Christmas cheer to the recipients.
A yacht race, the farm sector and Maori communities (in two separate announcements) will share the goodies.
Applications are invited for funding to enable renewable energy technologies to be trialled on Māori housing. Half of the $28 million in the Renewable Energy Fund is available for these projects.
Eighteen initiatives have been announced to support iwi, hapū, whānau and Māori communities “to safeguard at-risk mātauranga Māori, and protect indigenous knowledge from the ongoing threat of COVID-19”. These include a new $5.7 million Mātauranga Māori Marae Ora Fund.
Corporate largess is being distributed in the form of the $25 million Future Ready Farms programme led by Ballance Agri-Nutrients with co-investment of more than $10 million from the Ministry for Primary Industries’ Sustainable Food & Fibre Futures Futures fund. This aims to develop new ways of meeting national environmental targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, agricultural chemical use, and nutrient loss to waterways.
The opening of the America’s Cup Village in downtown Auckland serves as a reminder that the Government is investing $136.5 million in the America’s Cup and associated events and infrastructure. The Auckland Council has allocated $113 million. Auckland ratepayers who also pay taxes are being bitten twice.
The PM’s farmer and grower audience would have been heartened when she said the election success of Labour in rural New Zealand was a huge honour, but with it came huge responsibility and huge opportunities. They would have been braced, too, for her promotion – and defence – of the government’s environmental agenda.
The vote represented both an endorsement of the direction the government is heading and a requirement to work more closely with rural communities, Jacinda Ardern told the Primary Industries Summit.
I have made it very clear to our all our MPs, as well as those in provincial seats, that the primary sector is a key partner and stakeholder for this Government, and I want to see ideas permeate up from the grass roots as well as our engagement at a leadership level.
She then articulated three key objectives for the Government –
continuing to keep New Zealanders safe from Covid,
The government’s economic engineers were hard at work yesterday. One minister was set on establishing a base for film production in Christchurch while – much more critically for the wellbeing of the nation – a cluster of others led by the PM were unveiling their grand design for reshaping the primary sector. If they get it wrong (and we should never be sure politicians will get this sort of thing right), our economy will be dealt a greater mischief than ever was done by a pandemic.
Environment Minister David Parker was busy in the planning business, too, announcing appointments to the newly established Freshwater Planning Process and the Expert Consenting Panels for fast-track consenting.
Wearning his Attorney-General hat he also announced a new Judge of the High Court.
Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway, meanwhile, was announcing immediate short-term changes to visa settings to support temporary migrants already onshore in New Zealand and their employers, while ensuring New Zealanders needing work are prioritised.